Non-profit organizations fill gaps in services and material needs for communities in need. However, a reliance on donor dollars and a lack of sustainable practices can place non-profits in jeopardy, despite how much their services or goods are needed. To combat the decline of essential non-profits, managers and organizations are looking for ways to operate their non-profit like for-profit companies. As a result, donors can expect to assist non-profits by focusing on the organization’s return on investment, assisting non-profits in developing alternative business models, and offering in-kind services.

Return on Investment
Focusing on a non-profits return on investment encompasses a range of essential details. Not only does the non-profit need to define their mission, but they must also determine how that mission improves the quality of life for their members or their community. This also creates the impetus for non-profits to establish key performance measures and collect relevant data.

Once a non-profit has defined measurable success, donors are more apt to think of the non-profit as an investment, rather than as a charity. This has the potential to drive greater donations, increase the number of donors, and enable non-profit staff to speak the language of business to their valued donors.

Alternative Business Models
Jason William Johnson of the Chicago Urban League suggests running a non-profit like a start-up. In such a scenario, the non-profit works at building solutions to problems. This keeps the non-profit lean and focused. Once the solution is developed, it can be delivered to larger foundations and established organizations for implementation and sustainability.

Another model that moves away from dependence on donor funding is one that creates a profitable mission. For instance, an employment agency that focuses on providing jobs for those with barriers to employment can generate enough revenue to keep operations open. Likewise, an organization that embeds revenue-generating services within its mission can independently and sustainably fund its mission.

In-Kind Services
Another way to continuously assist non-profit organizations is to provide services rather than funds. Many non-profits operate with minimal staff and lean conditions; this means they must rely on third-party vendors for some of their operations. Organizations that donate services are offering their for-profit employees the opportunity to provide practical skills and assistance. This engages for-profit employees in ways that benefit their emotional well-being while also providing services for non-profits.

There are many ways for organizations to continuously assist non-profits, and many of those ways are not dependant on dollars.

About The Author
Yuri Vanetik is an Entrepreneur, Private Investor, Coalition Builder, and Philanthropist in Orange County, California. He is the Managing Partner of Vanetik International, LLC, a management consulting firm which offers advisory services and strategic planning to businesses and industries. He is also the Managing Partner of Dominion Asset Management, a technology-driven opportunity real estate fund that invests in undervalued real estate throughout the United States. Yuri Vanetik brings over 20 years of professional experience in a variety of roles, and has been featured in notable publications, including the Wall Street Journal, California Business Journal, Forbes, and Entrepreneur.

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