3 Lessons Nonprofits Can Learn From Business

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Published work involves contributions from multiple staff members in copywriting and editorial roles, with possible integration of AI technology


Nonprofits by default are conditioned to think of themselves as anything but a business. Money is always tight, you are always looking for funding and you always need more.

Unfortunately, as good-intentioned as it might be, this mindset is not sustainable within today’s consumer marketplace.

Thanks to the internet, there is more information, choice, and diversity. You need to compete for the attention of potential members more than ever before. And because of this, donors are becoming more selective over the types of organizations they want to support.

While the thought of losing both members and money may not lead nonprofits to completely re-envision the way they operate overnight, it certainly warrants further discussion. For the sake of long-term sustainability, here are a handful of for-profit learnings nonprofits should take into consideration.

Treat Your Members Like Customers

Let’s call it as we see it. Your members and their contributions are as much a part of keeping nonprofit operations afloat as Prime Members are to a for-profit company like Amazon. The only difference? Amazon has set the standard of what the customer experience should look like. Your members now expect an Amazon-like experience wherever they spend their dollars.

Whether it’s a seamless online checkout process, quick response and delivery times, or recommendations based on preferences, customers have high expectations. Failure to meet them will result in loss of members.

Thinking of your members as customers means that you’re choosing not to take them for granted. They are donating their money to see a return on the causes deemed most important to them. Make an effort to provide them with value instead of buyer’s remorse.

Put a Positive Spin on Profit

Similar to customers, profit doesn’t have to be a negative word in the nonprofit world.

Think of it this way, to sustain your organization’s operations, you need money. Money is an important resource needed to sustain and increase your impact.

Profit, at the end of the day, is just money. How your organization chooses to spend it is what will determine the positive or negative light, not the amount itself.

Embrace the Gig Economy

For-profit organizations have already tapped into the giant resource of the gig economy… You can eliminate a lot of overhead costs by embracing contractual workers or setting up a shop in a shared coworking space.

Doing this requires removing the emotional attachment affiliated with these resources. But it can free up a ton of revenue. With more money to spend, you can focus on delivering more value to your members.

While not the same by function, there are several ways nonprofits can apply for-profit learnings of today to better their operations. The change may not be easy, but a little guidance from the team at Frontline can certainly go a long way. Connect with us today to learn more.



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