Success is the overall goal of most nonprofit organizations but there are some organizations that could be viewed as highly successful. Have you ever wondered why some organizations thrive and why others merely survive? There are a number of reasons that nonprofits either rise to success or sit and struggle. Many individuals try to point to one reason or one factor in understanding nonprofit success. Success has a number of common threads or characteristics that can be pinpointed for study.
Success is often determined by individual criteria and varies from organization to organization. There are many different dynamics that play into the success or failure of an organization. The following is a suggested set of characteristics that can lift an organization to higher levels of success.
1. Commitment to the mission
Every nonprofit organization has a mission to accomplish. Some organizations want to help those less fortunate. Some organizations want to reach others with their message. Still other organizations want to raise money to assist a great cause such as medical research or feeding the hungry. There are many different reasons that nonprofits are formed but the driving force behind these organizations is some type of mission.
Commitment in the United States seems to be at an all time low. We see people struggling to commit to their marriages, to their careers and to their support of causes, such as nonprofits. When an organization is committed to their mission, a power and an energy is created. Commitment becomes a major factor in the overall success of the organization. When the people involved are committed to the mission, the organization has already achieved a huge success.
2. Strong and positive leadership
There are two major issues with nonprofit leadership: strength and positive attitude. There are many people who are strong leaders and have a great gift for leadership. The problem is that many of these individuals use their leadership to control others into accomplishing the leader’s agenda. The sign of a great leaders is that they move from controlling people to encouraging people. The leader that can move people without controlling or manipulating them proves the reality of their strength.
The leader must also be positive. No one wants to follow a negative leader. The more a leader becomes negative, the more they lose their ability to lead. Negative attitudes will repel followers away from the leader. Nonprofit organizations need leaders who will move the group forward in a positive manner. Being negative does nothing but hold both the leader and the organization back from progress.
3. Financial responsibility
Nonprofit organizations need to be responsible with the finances that they gain. Any income that goes to a nonprofit organization is a gift and should be treated as such. The organization has a responsibility to handle their income with an incredible amount of care. The reality is that nonprofits can not afford to waste money on foolish things. Being responsible with finances helps an organization become more successful because they can make the money work in a more effective manner.
4. Community connection
One of the more crucial aspects of nonprofit work is connecting with the surrounding community or the community at large. The only way that most nonprofits can survive is through the involvement of those within the community. Without community involvement, most organizations simply wither and die.
Nonprofit success depends a great deal on a variety of factors. There needs to be an overall commitment to the mission of the organization. Without commitment to the mission nothing of significance will be accomplished. Strong and positive leadership is essential to carrying a nonprofit to another level. Being financially responsible will allow the donations and the income to stretch farther and accomplish more. Developing connections within the community will allow the organization to tap vital resources all around them. Harnessing these dynamics can help push a nonprofit organization in the right direction and propel them toward success.