Nonprofit Management: 3 Key Strategies That Bring Success

This post was contributed by Lumaverse.

Running a nonprofit can be a difficult task. It involves juggling many moving parts, from managing team members, constituents, and supporters to pursuing your mission effectively. Regardless of your particular organization’s governance model, it can be a lot to handle.

But with the right tools in your toolkit and proven strategies in your back pocket, effective nonprofit management is not only possible but completely achievable.

At Lumaverse, we work with mission-based organizations and provide them with the group management tools they need for operational success. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to help nonprofit professionals like yourself.

If you want to manage your nonprofit organization well, be sure to:

Ready to dive into each of these strategies? Let’s get started!

1. Leverage your data.

Well-managed nonprofits rely on strategic data insights to inform their efforts and lead them in the right direction. In fact, this guide shares that data-driven campaigns produced more than 5 times the ROI as compared to the initial marketing spend.

Where might you locate this wealth of data? A CRM (or constituent relationship management) system, of course! A CRM for nonprofits not only collects valuable donor data, it can actually assist you with creating stronger connections with supporters, crafting personalized missions, and cultivating informed leaders within your team. For example, you can collect, organize, and analyze information to answer the following types of questions:

  • What is your average gift size?
  • What is the typical amount of time between donations?
  • What percentage of first-time donors make a second donation?
  • How do the majority of your donors choose to give to your organization?
  • Which communication channels show the greatest results?

When you confidently know the answers to these questions, it becomes easier to identify opportunities and make the most impactful decision. From your CEO to your board leadership team, anyone in a management position at your organization will benefit from the powerful data insights consolidated by your nonprofit database.

Then, you can use that information to craft customized fundraising asks and bring in significantly more revenue for your mission.

2. Get your board involved.

Your board of directors is a team of individuals who care about your mission and want to see it succeed. However, without the proper board management strategies, they can quickly become figureheads with little day-to-day impact on your organization.

If you’re looking to get your board involved in real, actionable ways, here are three critical steps you might want to take:

  1. Recognize why members are on your board. In order to manage board members well, it’s important to get a feel for their motivations for being on your board. The majority of these individuals are volunteers, and they likely care greatly about your cause. However, each member’s specific reasoning can provide further insight into why they do what they do, and why they care about your organization. Use this information to tailor the board member experience as much as possible.
  2. Provide exciting engagement opportunities. If the only events you invite your board of directors to are your board meetings, they’re likely to lose their enthusiasm very quickly. Instead, bring them on unique outings and retreats to encourage further engagement with each other and with your nonprofit as a whole.
  3. Show your appreciation for their support. Because these individuals are likely volunteering their time, money, and effort to participate as a board member, it’s of utmost importance to communicate your appreciation for them. You can recognize board members publicly, send them a handwritten note, or make a phone call to check in and say thanks. Knowing your board members individually will help you know how to recognize each one in their preferred manner.

Board members can be one of your greatest assets when leveraged correctly. When they carry out their roles and responsibilities effectively, these individuals have the power to bring your nonprofit to the next level. However, it’s up to you to get them involved—and keep them that way.

3. Incorporate virtual engagement.

Strategic virtual engagement is starting to become a significant component of nonprofit management, especially after the whirlwind of a year that was 2020. Thanks to developments in technology, on-screen communications are becoming closer to in-person interactions.

If you’re looking to incorporate virtual engagement into your own overall nonprofit management strategy, here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  1. Virtual board meetings: We’ve already discussed the importance of getting your board involved, and the best way to do so (especially in the era of social distancing) is through virtual board meetings. Virtual meetings are a great opportunity to engage with your board of directors and discuss critical components of your nonprofit management. Then, once you’ve aligned on a strategy, you can continue driving your mission forward with your board of directors’ full support.
  2. Virtual fundraising: Virtual fundraising is a fantastic way to raise support for your organization while increasing accessibility and removing geographical boundaries. For example, Fundly’s list of virtual fundraising ideas shares a ton of unique and powerful ways to garner support for your organization even from afar. When you take part in these ideas, you make sure your nonprofit receives the much-needed funding required for pursuing your mission in the first place.
  3. Virtual stewardship events: Virtual fundraising and stewardship events can overlap a bit, although the overarching purpose behind them differs greatly. Fundraising efforts aim to bring in funding for your mission, while stewardship events are intended to build long-term relationships with supporters and demonstrate your appreciation. For example, you might choose to host an elegant virtual gala as a stewardship event. Instead of asking for donations, supporters are invited simply to celebrate their previous contributions.

Your virtual engagement can even go beyond your donors and members. In fact, you can use similar virtual engagement strategies with constituents as well! For example, if you typically meet with clients in your office, you can bring those meetings virtual with convenient live-streaming software. Plus, you can even manage your time (and keep everyone on the same page) with an online appointment scheduler.

Not to mention, virtual engagements offer organizations huge benefits including increased inclusivity and accessibility, budget friendliness, and ease of management. If you’re just beginning to adopt virtual event strategies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. However, these tactics will continue to be useful for years to come—thus setting you up for continued success going forward.

Just remember, equipping your nonprofit team (including staff, volunteers, and board members) with the right tools is critical for success. Without a comprehensive system of nonprofit software, you risk key management tasks slipping through the cracks and fail to reach your full mission potential.

But by leveraging available data, securing board buy-in, and incorporating virtual engagement, you’re sure to bring about strategic management success (and increased productivity!) for your organization. Good luck!

Mike Barros from Lumaverse wrote this quick guide to nonprofit management strategies. Author: Mike Barros

Mike Barros is the President and CEO of Lumaverse Technologies. Before joining the Lumaverse, Mike was the President of Education Brands at Community Brands, the CEO of Diamond Mind, and the Chief Revenue Officer at JackBe. He resides in the DC-Metro area.


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