Non-Profits Should Act More Like a Business

Non-Profits are responsible for achieving their bottom line(s). Every group, organization or association has a social bottom line they are committed to achieve and through that comes commitments to stakeholders, funders, board members, recipients and overall revenues. Although a non-profit is set up in a way to not receive profit for their work, almost every other aspect of their infrastructure is mirrored with the for-profit world.

Bottom Line= Bottom Line

Stakeholder = Stakeholder

Board = Board

Revenue = Revenue/Profit

Funders = Investors/Shareholders

Recipients = Customers/Clients

We have unfortunately been living with a perception that non-profits are struggling entities that need to beg for money and need to be over the top in praising their funders for being involved (now don’t get me wrong, donor appreciation and acknowledgement are crucial, however when we gravel, it takes it a bit far), often times taking away from the work they should be doing.

Non-profits repeatedly hire people that have passion, fire or expertise in their programming areas while ignoring the need to hire strong business minded individuals to run the operations and financial sides of the organization.

Business does not need to be a dirty word. In fact business is a beautiful thing that should have its best practices replicated within non-profits, the same way the best practices within non-profits need to be mirrored into the business world.  In my mind, there are not as many differences as we’d like to believe between the two. This is where social enterprise has taken off, or where creative funding models come into play to incorporate both worlds.

When working with non-profits it’s one of the first things I assess – how do they operate and how do they lend themselves to efficiency, working smart and fiscal responsibility. With those areas covered off, any non-profit has the ability to soar.

What do you think? Want to chat more about it? Head over the my contact page and send me a message. Reference this post and coffee is on me (unless you live outside of Ontario, sorry.)