Working or volunteering on a board of directors for a nonprofit is a great way to give back to the community and make the world a better place. Today, more and more nonprofit organizations are entering the market and creating different types of programming ranging from direct services to advocacy. Through programming, nonprofits focus on advancing a cause, but the way in which they do that varies. It is not just through the specific services they provide, but also with the organizational culture and management structure.
We are sharing two approaches to add to your nonprofit toolbox that focus specifically on organizational culture and management structure: conducting market research and building a strategic plan. Using both of these can inform how your organization grows and maintains its status as a competitive entity in the world of nonprofits. In addition to describing the techniques, below are resources that you can use to incorporate our advice.
Conduct Market Research
What is Market Research?
Noun: the action or activity of gathering information about consumers’ needs and preferences.
Conducting market research is instrumental to developing an organizational culture because it provides guidance about where the organization should be focusing its efforts. It also helps organizations to avoid duplication and save time. Utilizing market research to vet a new program idea, provides you with a needs analysis to determine whether others are already putting your idea into action. Additionally, you can determine how your organization can improve upon what is already out there. Being unique helps the organization stand out and receive funding from both private and governmental entities.
Through conducting this type of research, you can utilize demographic data to develop a strategic program that targets the clients you serve. By understanding exactly who you serve, you can develop programming that caters directly to your population.This data lets you see the need your organization meets among the masses.
Researchscape has both free and low cost market research services for organizations. You can start by downloading one of their free ebooks to get acquainted with the discipline of market research.
Download your free ebooks here: http://www.researchscape.com
Build a Strategic Plan
What is Strategic Planning?
Noun: An organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy.
Every organization needs a firm foundation. In order to build this foundation, an organization needs a clear mission statement. Before launching your nonprofit, develop a strategic plan to carry out that mission. Doing so will ensure that your organization has solid footing to achieve its goal.
Utilize a Board of Directors well-trained in a variety of skill sets and passionate staff members to provide a good start. The Board of Directors can initially help your organization prioritize following and tracking a strategic plan. However, your staff members who see the programming roll out first hand are your biggest asset. Remember to make your entire team part of the planning process.
As a part of your strategic plan, your team should determine how you will measure success. Evaluate for Change has a free template that will help you define your methodology and think through the reasoning behind the measurement tools you use in your program evaluation. You will be thankful that you created an evaluation plan when you start to analyze your data!
Download your free template here: http://www.evaluateforchange.com/resources/templates/
Implementing these two strategies will help your organization stay ahead of the competition. With the rise of technology, creating a nonprofit has become easier than before. That means it is essential to use techniques that allow you to ensure your programming is helpful, useful, and impactful.