6 Tips to Help Your Nonprofit Succeed

Innovation is a fundamental element that distinguishes successful nonprofit organizations from their unsuccessful counterparts. With more than 1.6 million U.S. nonprofits registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), nonprofit organizations must pioneer new ideas to attract donors and stay ahead of their competitors. Otherwise, they’ll struggle to succeed.


#1) Create a Mission Statement


People typically donate to nonprofits because they support and believe in what the organization does. Therefore, nonprofits should define their activities in a mission statement. This is arguably one of the most important components of a successful marketing and branding strategy. A mission statement drives innovation while encouraging the public to donate. Furthermore, it helps to motivate the nonprofit’s employees and volunteers, encouraging them to work harder to achieve a shared goal.


#2) Create Strategic Plan


A mission statement is just one piece of the puzzle for a nonprofit’s success. Another key component is a strategic plan. This is a more detailed document outlining the nonprofit’s goals, objectives and activities. According to research by Concord Leadership Group, however, 77 percent of nonprofits lack a strategic plan. Without a strategic plan, these nonprofits are forced to improvise their work, thus lowering their chances of success.


#3) Use Social Media


Nonprofits shouldn’t overlook social media as a marketing tool to attract donors. Statistics show that more than 80 percent of the U.S. adult population has a social media account or profile. So, regardless of the nonprofit’s target audience, they probably use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. By creating a strong presence here, organizations can connect with their prospective donors on a personal level while reinforcing their mission statement and leadership strategy.


#4) Offer Gifts to Donors


A small gift goes a long ways in retaining donors and encouraging them to stay with a nonprofit. If you look at some of the country’s top-ranked nonprofits — American Red Cross, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Make-A-Wish Foundation, etc. — you’ll notice that most of them offer gifts in exchange for donations. These value of these gifts typically varies depending on the amount of money donated. Large donations, for instance, yield a more valuable gift than small donations. By using a similar tiered gift system, nonprofits will have an easier time attracting donors and achieving their goals.


#5)Keep Excellent Financial Records


Nonprofit organizations are still considered businesses, and like all businesses, they must keep financial records. Not only is this important for internal management purposes, but it’s also important for tax purposes. According to the University of Notre Dame (UND), nonprofits make accounting mistakes at a high rate. One of the reasons for this is a general lack of administrative resources. To overcome this challenge, nonprofits should focus on keeping excellent financial records of all income and expenses. Thankfully, there’s non profit accounting software designed specifically for this purpose.


#6) Use Search Engine Marketing


Finally, nonprofits should use search engine marketing (SEM) to capitalize on the unparalleled reach of the internet. SMM involves channels to display or advertise a nonprofit on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. AdWords, for instance, allows nonprofits to create and display ads on Google’s search results as well as partner websites.


Turning an idea for a successful nonprofit into a reality requires time, money and hard work. However, nonprofit owners and executives can take the first steps towards success by following the tips listed here.