In our previous we outlined four areas in which a nonprofit can benefit by leveraging for-profit business strategies and tactics. One of those areas is specific to honing your mission and adjusting your marketing strategies to align with new social enterprise models.
With the advent of benefit corporations that are for-profit but include a positive impact on society, and the growth of philanthropic foundations funded by for profit companies, the lines between nonprofit and for-profit entities are continuing to blur. Nonprofits have more competition than they’ve ever had and it’s not just other nonprofits.
You’ve probably seen examples of nonprofits expanding their mission across other business ventures – whether through opening a thrift shop, or being set up as a division of a for-profit corporate umbrella (Amway, Kellogg, and Wege Foundations among others). Some nonprofits are even beginning to invest like venture capitalists – funding startups and publicly traded companies in an effort to bring a life-changing product to market faster. [For more information, please see Fortune Magazine: "Charities Are Making Big Money by Acting Like VCs"]
Another example of new competition is for-profit companies becoming B Corps (Benefit Corporations). The benefits of becoming a B Corp are around sustainability. They are certified to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency [www.bcorporation.net]. Using their prowess in manufacturing and industry, these corporations are working to solve social problems, if not necessarily “missions.” While missions serve individual people, social responsibility and sustainability are becoming part of the nonprofit spectrum while having a hand in the for-profit world because of the inherent benefits of creating more sustainable businesses.
For most nonprofits, it’s important to stay focused on your mission and deliver exceptional and efficient services. For-profits can leverage their skills and abilities and apply them to sustainable and social objectives, but nonprofits need to learn from and adopt those same for-profit skills to hone their mission, gain efficiencies, and focus on the right metrics and benchmarks.
For example, more nonprofits should leverage sales and pipeline management techniques to drive their development efforts. This could include standardized donation processes, donor nurture campaigns, discipline around project execution, and managing and monitoring closing ratios. Another good example is implementing customer service best practices such as leveraging internal knowledge bases, utilizing voice of the customer surveys, and effectively measuring service delivery in order to report on directed donations.
Just as in the for-profit world, nonprofit competition is growing daily. Identifying and leveraging the right for-profit strategies and tactics can help you grow and take you far beyond just keeping overhead costs low in delivering efficient and effective service to your clients.
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