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Successful non-profit organization: how to start and operate it

Helping people in your community or elsewhere is a rewarding practice. It is necessary though to proceed with creating and running your non-profit organization in a professional and successful manner. We will discuss what does success means and how it differs in a non-profit and for-profit organization.


As a business owner, you probably have been active in your community doing rewarding work and supporting non-profit organizations. What if you decide to start one yourself? Or understand the structure better and support it in a different way, as a board member for example? Let’s start with the important operational details for non-profit.

Start with the Mission Statement

Write the mission statement or purpose statement. State the purpose clearly and briefly. Evaluate the mission statement annually to ensure the organization is staying on course.

Board of Directors and Staff

Select board of directors based on predetermined qualifications: the ability to raise money; passion and care for the program; willingness to set policy; humility in working with others.

Choose staff based on skills, the passion they have for the organization’s purpose, and their ability to work with others. Give each staff member a written job description and organizational handbook that includes the mission statement.

Run Your Nonprofit Like A Startup

Forbes advises that nonprofits should treat their organization like a startup. First, NPOs should conduct research to understand their clients' problems. Second, they should develop a minimum viable product or MVP, and test it until they find a product-market fit.

Fundraising Operations:

Hire a professional fundraising consultant who can guide the organization in developing contacts for major donors, donors among local businesses and will know how to implement donor-based software. Have a clear goal for raising your funds based on the market research and an achieved product-market fit for their MVP. NPOs should then pitch their programming to foundations and corporations interested in the problem they are solving.

Increase Efficiency by operating as a for-profit business

Join a business networking group to increase visibility. Ask the business networking group if it provides special rates for nonprofit organizations. Host an annual open house for the local chamber of commerce members.

Also, consider that successful for-profit businesses match the costs and benefits within the right internal part of the organization. A nonprofit can and should operate the same way - each area should have as much alignment between revenue (whether earner or raised) and associated costs.

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