When nonprofits have to think like for-profits

Nonprofit organizations are often the bedrock of what holds communities together. Even those that go largely unnoticed make a huge impact. Good nonprofits are run by executives who are passionate about their cause and are driven to bring about change together with their community. Most nonprofits face the same challenge constantly:

How do we keep pushing our vision forward while continuing to meet or exceed our fundraising goals?

For years, many nonprofits have relied on a small group of generous donors to drive the organization. As foundations evolve and wealth changes hands, those reliable checks can become less frequent or disappear entirely.

The perfect pitch

As a result, cause-driven nonprofits are forced to create gripping elevator pitches across the organization to constantly sell their vision and efforts. It is no longer good enough to do something well as a nonprofit. Instead, these organizations have to think like for-profit businesses in order to grow the organization to new fundraising heights. Since not everyone in the organization can focus on fundraising all of the time, forward-thinking nonprofits are looking to build technical solutions to keep fundraising efforts in the spotlight 24/7.

Consumers want to give back to their community. They especially appreciate causes that touch them personally or directly benefit their surroundings or loved ones. Business owners want to give back as well. They care about organizations that are working in their industry and the way those nonprofits influence growth in their own business. While nonprofits don’t necessarily set out to directly increase asset value for related companies, most business owners see the increased value as a happy coincidence, and it increases their support for these organizations.

What you can do now

To take full advantage of the tools and community support that are available to nonprofits, organizations must do a number of things.

  • Define a target market and understand the market’s sales triggers to help craft the message.
  • Use software to put the message and fundraising ask in the right places to grow the pipeline.
  • Create recurring revenue from a variety of sources, even if in small sums.
  • Run frequent and detailed reports to track efforts and impact.

As organizations begin to understand who cares about their cause the most, they begin to learn more about their behavior and motivation, such as when they give, what triggers a give, where they see the message, and what they are looking for from an organization. From detailed reports, organizations can learn where to spend their energy, find the right volunteers, and learn how to continue spreading the message through their biggest fans.


Want to learn more about adapting a nonprofit to the fast-paced business environment where small but loyal donors are ready to give? We can help. Let’s chat.

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