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Nonprofits should collaborate and share more ideas internally

w-idea-081612Did you know that some of your best ideas for your organization can come from your internal employees? The people who come to work for your organization every day have some great ideas floating around in their heads, but often don’t have the opportunity to say what they think about a particular matter or topic. Usually a company’s challenges can be solved via an internal idea. Your employees could be very helpful in helping achieve your end goal and helping in the smooth running of your organization or department, particularly in the following ways:

Cost Cutting Ideas: I am sure if you ask your internal employees if there are ways that costs could be cut, there would be many thoughts that would come your way. Even if only one or two can be successfully implemented out of the many suggestions that get submitted, it will be well worth the effort and your employees will feel a sense of inclusion in decision making. It could be that getting your office supplies locally is far less expensive than using an online vendor, or buying your office hardware would save you in the long run rather than renting the equipment on a monthly basis.

Software Ideas: So many of us use software that we know of, read about, or have used in our own departments that could be relevant to the whole organization. Employees should have a venue to share how they use specific software, which may lead to others more fully utilizing those tools within their department. Of course not all software or tools can be implemented, but there could be a particular software or tool that an employee has experience using in the past that would benefit your nonprofit. For example Google Analytics for Nonprofits, Wufoo, Grasshopper, or MailChimp to name a few.

Product or Service Ideas: This is one of the best topics to ask employees about. An employee might have a wonderful idea that was never considered, but could actually be a viable service or resource that could spark a great potential for your organization. For example, there could be something your nonprofit does or has that your audience base could benefit from. Do you have a great office space that could be rented out to nonprofits to hold events or conferences? Does your nonprofit have a proven skill set in social media or webinar hosting that other nonprofits could benefit from? This “one” idea from “Joe” could create a new revenue stream and/or create a new market for your organization.

Employees can sometimes feel intimidated when it comes to sharing their ideas, and nonprofits need to remove the internal barriers and allow the ideas to flow freely within our departments.

At the end of the day, collaboration and sharing ideas among employees leads to cost savings, strengthened programs, improved efficiencies, and improved value propositions for your organizations. Your internal employees can be your most valued resource, if you take the time to ask them what they think!

How do you tap your team's potential? Let me know in the comments below!

Usma Ziard Usma Ziard

Usma Ziard is GuideStar’s senior marketing director.

Topics: Nonprofit Leadership and Practice