There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations across America all competing for the nation's charitable contributions. The average person is only willing to give so much to charity organizations each year, so it's a battle to compel those individuals to contribute. To succeed, it's vital that your charity has an edge. These business skills will help it gain the advantage it needs to thrive.
Running a nonprofit organization takes many of the same leadership skills it takes to run a Fortune 500 company. Both CEOs need to think strategically, build strong relationships with workers and investors, keep the team motivated, communicate effectively, and inspire others around them.
2. Financial Smarts Help Your Funding Go Further
Nonprofits use their money to do good in the world, so it's vital they don't squander the money they receive on running costs. Charities receive large donations from businesses and grants, but their most important funding typically comes from small donations from ordinary people. As this money doesn't have the restrictions business donations and grant funding often come with, it can be used to do innovative things which often make the biggest impact.
Jasmine Whitbread, the international chief executive officer of Save the Children, recently told Forbes a massive 83 percent of its funding goes straight back into the program's charitable efforts. The bulk of the remainder is used for fundraising efforts, while a "tiny percentage" is used for salaries and other running costs.
3. Social Media Skills Help You Promote for Less
Social media skills are perhaps even more valuable for nonprofit leaders than traditional CEOs, as social media allows charities to promote their business and engage with potential donors for free.
Viral content posted through social media can reach a massive audience quickly and create greater awareness of your nonprofit's efforts. It can also unlock a potential goldmine of donations. Research shows 59 percent of people who support charities on social media have donated money and 52 percent have donated clothes, food, and other goods. Between 15 and 18 percent of donations from a typical fundraising drive come from Facebook, and Twitter promotion has been proven to deliver 10 times the donations.
Social media can also help publicize your charity's fundraising events, help you recruit volunteers, and allow you to thank your supporters.
4. A Knack for Networking Helps You Succeed
Remember though that even in the modern world, networking doesn't just happen online. Corporate America knows that networking skills are vital for building a successful business empire, but the ability to schmooze might be even more important for nonprofit execs.
Effective networking helps nonprofit leaders forge personal connections with potential donors. Talking to the rich and influential about why your cause matters, how your nonprofit is helping, and what their contribution can do can be very persuasive. Successful networking can help you secure donations now and make the connections that can lead to long-term support.
Make sure you delegate at your own fundraising events so you've got time to mingle with potential donors, and accept invitations to other social gatherings which could provide further networking opportunities.
Business skills aren't just for retailers and corporate giants. Nonprofits might be selling something very different to these companies, but business skills like these can give it the edge it needs to succeed.