The Balance Needed to Protect Your Nonprofit’s Vision

Photo Credit: _gee_ via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: _gee_ via Compfight cc

Most nonprofits have to balance many, many priorities and obligations, especially if they have Medicaid contracts or contracts with the state’s Department of Family and Children Services or the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Between raising funds and doing the work and protecting the people you serve and protecting the employees and volunteers who help you do the work,  you have a lot to determine.

Nowhere is this need to balance budget and expediency with wisdom than in your nonprofit’s hiring practices.

Who works for you? 

I recently spoke with a nonprofit leader who has to pay a masters degree educated employee much less than he’d like to. Yet the work gets done well. If you knew the reputation of this organization, you’d be amazed at what they are able to accomplish.

Many of us in the for-profit world don’t always understand. Even those of us who provide services for nonprofits. Our services will always cost money… money that the nonprofit would prefer to spend elsewhere.

Often these nonprofits are serving at-risk, vulnerable individuals. And they have to do so with employees who are worth much, much more than they are paid.

Usually, these employees are willing to continue to serve and serve well.  Sometimes, though, the inability to hire the cream of the crop creates risk management issues.

Can a nonprofit afford to be expedient in order to have warm bodies to do the work? 

Is it best practices to serve the most vulnerable with the least qualified?

The key is to find the best hearts with quality experience and education.

Easier said than done.

The worst option, though, is to cut corners. Hiring fast and hiring out of fear or worry or stress is not the answer

Protecting your nonprofit’s vision requires that you hire slow and fire fast. It requires that you create a culture of care by only inviting individuals in who have a heart for the population you serve.

You might not be able to offer the moon, but you can offer purpose.

Go slow. Hire wisely.

Risk Management Resource: Easy Grants

In my work with nonprofit organizations, one of the recurring themes is revenue generation and development.

Essentially, nonprofit and for-profit businesses have a lot in common:

  1. They are both businesses.
  2. They both require funding to keep going.
  3. The best businesses offer goods or services that benefit people, even if only to provide entertainment.
  4. The best nonprofits have a revenue model that sustains their mission (so they can continue to benefit folks)
  5. They both have their eyes open for opportunities to maximize their funding/income and their benefit to others.

Why Revenue Generation and Funding is a Risk Management Issue

Simply put, if you don’t have funding, you risk shutting your doors. Many organizations have had to do just that over the past 6 years since the recession started in 2008ish.

Further, financial stress can lead to poor decision-making and cutting corners. Sometimes (I know this first hand), nonprofits will decide to drop needed insurance coverage due to diminished funds. Other times, a nonprofit might not be able to attract top talent to perform professional services.

The list could go on. The simple fact is that while money does not cure all ills, it is still a key component – the lifeblood even – of any business’s ability to function well.

easy-grants-logo-300

Easy Grants: A Possible Resource for Funding

One of the main resources for nonprofit funding is corporate, government, and foundation grants. And I’m probably missing a few other options (I’m an insurance guy… not a grant writer).

An issue can be finding the right grants for your organization and being able to sell yourself to the granting organization in a way that will unlock untold riches (right?).

Many of you nonprofit executives have grant writing down pat and don’t need any assistance.

Some of you know how to do it but realize your time is better spent elsewhere.

Still others of you don’t have a clue where to start.

Check out Easy Grants. The owner of the site is a professional grant writer and consultant who might be able to connect you with needed resources. 

He offers a short consultation to evaluate whether or not he can assist so neither you nor he wastes time on a project that won’t work out.

If you give it a shot, please let me know if it’s something that was helpful to you!

Risk Management Resources are ‘use at your own risk.’ These are simply resources I’ve run across that might prove helpful depending on your particular needs as a nonprofit. I encourage you to do your own research, dig around, and find the resources that help you manage your risks, protect your vision, and help you accomplish your mission and care for the key stakeholders in and around your nonprofit. 

 

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