For-profit businesses tend to get most of the attention when it comes to developing a business strategy, but it’s just as important (if not more important) for nonprofits to develop and maintain a business strategy. First, because nonprofits are still businesses, even if they’re nonprofit businesses. Second, because nonprofits are often working with fewer resources and more regulations than for-profit businesses, it’s especially important for them to have a strategic plan in place so they can be sure to use all those resources to the fullest, while abiding by the rules and regulations that apply to them. Here are 4 tips to help you get started with your strategic planning for nonprofits:
Identify Your Nonprofit’s Vision
Identify What Your Nonprofit Needs
Once you’ve outlined your vision for your nonprofit organization, you can take stock of the resources you need to get you there. What do you currently have available to you, and what do you need to add?
Learn from Best Practices
The more time you spend operating a nonprofit organization, the more you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. If you have experience working for different nonprofits, you might find that what works for one nonprofit organization doesn’t always work for another, which is why it’s so important to regularly assess which nonprofit strategies are working and which ones need some work. Don’t forget to reassess this from time to time because sometimes you’ll find that what worked last year, or even last month, is no longer bringing in results (for example, many of us found that strategies that worked in a pre-pandemic world did not hold up during a global pandemic).
Prioritize Your Goals and Strategies for Your Nonprofit Organization
Many businesses struggle with wanting to achieve a lot of big goals and try many different strategies all at once, but not only is that a recipe for burnout, it also makes it difficult, if not impossible, to identify what’s working and what’s a waste of time and resources. Prioritizing the goals you need to achieve and the nonprofit strategies you need to implement over the ones you want to try is key to making progress. That’s not to say you can’t experiment and play around with different nonprofit strategies. It simply means that most of your resources should be focused on achieving your primary goals before you start going after your secondary and tertiary goals.
Need Help with Your Strategic Planning for Nonprofits?
Michelle Smith is a Strategy Rockstar with decades of experience helping small businesses (including nonprofits) develop and refine their strategies so they can produce stronger results. You can get started by scheduling your FREE consultation.
I’ve never met an entrepreneur or business owner who’s afraid of hard work. We all want our businesses to be successful, and most of us are willing to do just about anything to make that dream a reality. So why do so many businesses fail if we’re all working so hard?
For many entrepreneurs, it’s because they didn’t have a strategy, but that’s a topic for another blog post. Right now I want to talk about the importance of consistency, because that’s the true key to success, and I don’t mean working long hours every, single day, because many small business owners are already putting in the hours without reaping the financial reward. Instead, let’s look at what it means to be consistent in your business and how that can be the key to success you’ve been looking for.
Trying New Things Is Not a Strategy
Entrepreneurs like to try new things, and while that can often be a great way to test different strategies for your business, it can also leave you without the results you need if you don’t try any one business strategy long enough to give it time to work.
mean taking the things that work and putting them into practice consistently. Whether that means calling prospects, posting on social media, checking in with existing clients, the point is that while what you do does matter, making sure you do them consistently matters more.
Consistency Beats Perfection Every Time
The key to success is to not let perfectionism prevent you from moving forward in your business. You might not be the best at making sales calls, but if you consistently reach out to prospects and let them know you’re available to help solve their problems, you’ll get better at having those conversations and you’ll see results. The same goes for posting on social media: the more you post and analyze which posts get the best results, the better you’ll get at creating posts that get you in front of your ideal clients and help drive results for your business.
Make It Work with Your Schedule
If you’ve been dreaming of making a consistent income as a small business owner, but think you can’t make it a reality, think again. All you need to do is schedule your FREE consultation now to see how I can help you rethink your small business strategy.
When trying to grow a nonprofit organization, you can rely on some of the same lead generation strategies used by for-profit businesses, but fundraising for a nonprofit organization requires its own strategy. So if you’ve been struggling with your nonprofit lead generation strategy, use these tips to turn that around.
Identify Your Target Audience
By contrast, once you’ve identified your target audience, you can create content that speaks to their values and communicates how your organization shares their values and helps make the world a better place.
Refine Your Messaging
Your message is what will get people’s attention and prompt them to learn more about you and your organization. Not only do you need to refine your message to make sure it clearly communicates what your nonprofit is all about, but you need to do so in a way that is engaging and makes people want to learn more about the work you do.
Consistently Create High-Quality Content
to solve a particular problem, and if your nonprofit organization has content on its website that addresses those questions, you’ll be more likely to show up in those searches and draw those leads to your website.
Create Interactive Content
Whether you need help refining your nonprofit lead generation strategies, or converting the leads who are already visiting your website into donors, it might be time to get some help from a Strategy Rockstar like Michelle Smith. Michelle has spent decades helping nonprofit organizations generate leads and reach their fundraising goals, so if you’re ready to stop struggling and start strategizing, you can schedule your FREE consultation with Michelle now to get started.
Entrepreneurs are often short on both time and money, which can make it hard to justify going on a retreat. How can you afford to spend the money and the time away from your business?
In fact, a retreat is an investment in your business like any other, and while going on a retreat might mean stepping away from the office for a few days, it does not mean you are not working on your business. On the contrary, by taking a few days off and traveling to a different location (even if it’s just a few miles away), you can gain a fresh perspective, which is ideal for working on your business, rather than working in your business.
If you’ve been wondering if an entrepreneur’s retreat is right for you, we have a few reasons why you should consider it one of the best things you can do for your business.
Establish Your Vision
A retreat is a great opportunity for you to define the vision you have for your company and map out a plan to achieve that vision. Rather than letting your vision sit in a drawer somewhere (or in your head), a retreat gives you a chance to write it all down and think about the actions you can take in your business right now to achieve that vision. As the saying goes, a goal without a plan is just a wish, and when you attend a retreat, you can map out a plan to make that vision a reality.
Make New Connections
Some retreats offer an opportunity to network as part of the retreat, but even if they don’t, just attending the retreat gives you an opportunity to surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs. Not only does this give you an opportunity to forge life-long friendships, you could also end up meeting your next best client and/or referral partner.
Many people assume that because an organization is called a “nonprofit”, it doesn’t have to worry about a business plan, but that could not be further from the truth. While a nonprofit is structured differently than for-profit companies, especially when it comes to their finances, nonprofits still face many of the same challenges as other companies, including staffing and marketing.
Having said that, there are also some key differences between business planning for nonprofits and business planning for a for-profit organization. So, whether you’ve just started your nonprofit or you’re thinking of starting one, here are some tips you can use to start business planning for your nonprofit.
Set Your Priorities
Set Up Your Systems and Processes
If you’re just starting out, you need to identify and implement the best systems and processes to keep your nonprofit running smoothly. This includes everything from promoting and raising money for your nonprofit to recruiting and training staff and volunteers.
If your nonprofit organization has been in business for a while, it’s always a good idea to go over the systems and processes you already have in place and take a look at what’s benefiting you and what is no longer serving the organization. Which systems/processes could be improved? Which ones need to be replaced? What new systems/processes could you implement that would make running your nonprofit organization that much easier and more effective?
Measure Your Results
Whether you’re starting a new nonprofit or restrategizing an existing nonprofit, it’s always a good idea to have a Strategy Rockstar on your side. Helping people with their business planning for nonprofits is not only one of my strong suits, it’s also one of my passions. If you’d like to hear more about how I help nonprofit organizations get the most out of their resources, schedule a call now so we can chat.
Attending a retreat can often sound like a luxury. After all, the term “retreat” implies you’re getting away from your business, not working on your business, right?
Yes, a retreat can be an opportunity to “get away from it all”, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be working on your business. On the contrary, sometimes our best work happens when we take some time away from the office because it gives us a perspective we can’t get when we’re in the office day in and day out.
So, to help you understand that attending a retreat can be an investment in your business, just like any other investment, here are some returns you can expect to enjoy after you’ve made that investment (and put in the work required by the retreat).
One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs and small business owners making is failing to create a plan for their business. Or maybe they create a plan when they first start out, but then they shove it in a drawer somewhere and forget to check in with it to make sure they’re achieving the goals they set out to achieve.
Trying to run a business without a plan is a great way to waste time, energy, and resources. When you don’t have a goal with a solid plan attached to it, you’re more likely to get pulled in all different directions instead of identifying a plan of action to achieve your goal and sticking to it.
Business retreats are a great opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Many business-oriented retreats provide a time specifically for networking, but even if they don’t, just being in a room with other entrepreneurs and small business owners can be a great opportunity to connect with them and bounce ideas off of them, which brings me to my next point:
If you’ve never been on a business retreat before, or if you have but it’s been a while, my next Quarterly Retreat might be just what you need. Take some time to identify what went well this past quarter and what could have gone better, then map out a plan of action for making the last quarter of 2021 your best quarter yet, all while networking with other, like-minded entrepreneurs. You can find out more about the retreat and buy your tickets here.
There are a lot of ways you can raise money for your nonprofit, but one of the most effective (and fun) is to host an event. But planning a nonprofit fundraising event is easier said than done. The bigger the event, the more money you can bring in, but it also means more work for you and your staff, so you need to maintain a balance between bringing in enough money to fund your nonprofit without biting off more than you can chew.
Having said that, there are ways to simplify the process of planning a nonprofit fundraising event, regardless of how large or small it ends up being. You just need to follow these steps:
Set a Goal Before You Start Planning a Nonprofit Fundraising Event
Decide on the Type of Nonprofit Fundraising Event
This is where you need to decide how big your nonprofit fundraising event is going to be, but you also need to make sure it’s a fun event that people will want to pay money to attend. If you’re a large, well-known organization, you can host a ball (or get a volunteer or donor to host it for you), or a charity luncheon. If you’re smaller and more community focused, maybe you host an event in one of your local parks.
When deciding on the type of event, you should also determine how big you want it to be. Can you handle a room (or park) with hundreds of people? Or should you try to keep it to a few dozen? If you’re selling tickets for the event, make sure you cap the ticket sales at whatever your upper limit of attendees ends up being because you don’t want to end up with more people than your space can accommodate.
Get Your Space and Your Supplies
Once you know the type of nonprofit fundraising event you’re going to host and how many people you’re going to have, it’s time to start looking for spaces where you can host the event. If you want to host it outside in a park, be sure to get a permit from the city/village, and you might want to consider a backup venue in case the weather turns against you. If you’re hosting it inside, see if you can get someone to donate the space for you.
You’ll also probably need seating, food and drinks, and maybe items to raffle off if you’re doing a raffle to raise money. Most, if not all of those things can be donated by local companies or individuals, so ask around and see who would be willing to help you out. Anyone who donates should have an opportunity to promote their business at the event, which leads nicely into my next tip:
Ask Businesses to Sponsor Your Nonprofit Fundraising Event
Promote Your Nonprofit Fundraising Event
Rinse and Repeat
After your event, it’s important to take stock. How did it go? Did you reach your fundraising goal? Did people enjoy themselves? Would they come again if you hosted another nonprofit fundraising event? You need to take stock of what went well and what could have been done better before you start planning your next nonprofit fundraising event.
Whether you’re planning a nonprofit fundraising event, or looking for other ways to raise money for your organization, it can help to have a Strategy Rockstar on your team. Helping nonprofits run a better organization is one of my specialties, as well as one of my passions. You can schedule a call now to see how I can help you plan a better nonprofit fundraising event.
As entrepreneurs and small business owners, most of us don’t have time to take a vacation, so how can we afford to set aside time for a retreat? Whole days away from the office? In a row? Who has time for that?
In fact, taking time to attend that retreat could end up being the best thing you can do for your business. Here’s why:
Retreats Give You Time to Focus on Your Personal and Professional Development
Those books and webinars can also be sources of inspiration that go untapped. Maybe they bring up some ideas for you and you think, “I should do that,” but then you have to pick up the kids from school or walk the dog or make dinner, and you never get to take action on those new ideas.
By contrast, a retreat gives you both the inspiration/motivation and the opportunity to start working on your big goals right away.
Work On Your Business, Not Just In Your Business
Running a business can be so busy and chaotic that sometimes we forget to stop and make time to work on our business. What big goals do we have for our business? What systems and processes do we need to put in place to achieve those goals?
Taking a step back to make those assessments and put those processes and procedures in place takes time, which is why many entrepreneurs and small business owners never get around to it, and that can prevent them from moving forward in their business.
When you attend a retreat, you have a chance to step back and look at (or set) your big goals for your business and figure out how you’re going to reach those goals. Don’t let your big dreams for your business die as dreams without ever having seen the light of day. Attend a retreat and commit to making those dreams a reality.
Build a Support Network of Other, Like-Minded Entrepreneurs
People often say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they tend to leave out the fact that Rome wasn’t built by just one person, either. It required a team (several teams) of people working together to achieve a common goal. (It Takes a Village training has more information about building a network)
The Power of Collaborative Work Spaces
Return to Work More Energized
When was the last time you took a retreat? When was the last time you devoted a day or two to just work on your business? If it’s been a while and you’ve been thinking it might be time for another (or your first!) retreat, my quarterly retreat is coming up, which makes it the perfect time to schedule your next retreat for your business.
How many times have you had a great meeting with a prospect or potential referral partner ... only to never hear from them again? It’s frustrating, but if you flip it around, you realize they probably had an equally great meeting with you … only to never hear from you again.
You’ve probably heard the famous quote from Tim Sanders: “Your network is your net worth”, but have you ever stopped to think about what that quote really means? Have you figured out how to tap into the awesome power that is your network, or are you just sitting by the phone and hoping it will ring?
If you’re ready to be more proactive in your business and start getting clients in the door, here are some networking tips you can use to make your network work for you. For even more information, check out my free course in my Online Academy called Networking Effectively to Reach Your Goals.
1st Networking Tip: Invite Them to Sign Up for Your Newsletter
I use Acuity as my scheduling software and I have it linked to my Active Campaign account, which is the CRM I use for my newsletter, as well as keeping my prospects organized so I know when and how to follow up. That way, every time someone schedules a meeting with me, they automatically get an invitation to sign up for my newsletter, which has become a great way to build my mailing list.
It’s important to remember that, in order for this networking tip to be effective, you need to maintain an active newsletter, which means sending something out to your subscribers at least once a month, if not every week or every other week.
2nd Networking Tip: Invite Them to Connect on Social Media
Social media is a great way to stay top of mind with your network and remind them of the value you provide, so if you have a Facebook group for your business, invite prospects to join your Facebook group. If you’re in a B2B industry, you might want to invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn.
As with your newsletter, this networking tip will only work if you’re active on the places you invite them to connect with you. If you have a Facebook group for your business, make sure you’re posting regularly in that group and inviting members to participate and start discussions. If you invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn, make sure you’re actively posting, liking, sharing, and commenting on other people’s posts. That will help boost your visibility on LinkedIn and make it more likely the people in your network will actually see your posts.
3rd Networking Tip: Wish Them Happy Birthday
Everyone likes a little recognition now and then, especially on their birthday, so whenever someone schedules an appointment with me, I like to ask them when their birthday is so I can be sure to send them a birthday card (or at least a Facebook message) on their special day.
Facebook and LinkedIn also make this really easy by asking people when their birthday is as soon as they sign up. If they make their birthday public, you’ll get a notification whenever someone in your network is celebrating their birthday. It only takes a second to send them a quick message wishing them a happy birthday, but it can do so much to keep you foremost in their minds while building goodwill.
4th Networking Tip: Let Them Know What You Do
Whether you struggle to get a return on the time and money you invest into networking events, or you’re just not sure how to follow up with the people you met (whether individually or at networking events) I can help. Schedule your FREE clarity call now to see how I can help you tap into your network and build relationships that will take your business to the next level.
If you run or work in (or even volunteer at) a nonprofit, I don’t have to tell you about the struggles of fundraising. It’s a challenge every nonprofit faces, and while it’s true there are outside factors that can affect your nonprofit fundraising efforts, I don’t ever want my clients to have to rely on outside factors. You should be able to take control of your own success, and that’s exactly what I help my clients do in their business, whether it’s a nonprofit or a for-profit business. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to boost your nonprofit fundraising efforts, regardless of what’s going on in the world.
Get Your Nonprofit Tools in Order
Gather (and Use) Donor Data to Improve Your Nonprofit Fundraising Efforts
Once you have a cache of donors in your system, you can group them by different qualities, such as how much money and how often they’ve donated, when they last donated, geographical area, gender, income level, etc. Knowing when they’ve donated in the past can tell you when they’ll be more likely to donate again, which should inform your decision about when and how to reach out to them to improve your chances of getting them to help your nonprofit fundraising efforts.
Use Different Platforms for Your Nonprofit Fundraising Efforts
While calling and emailing your donors are both great ways to get directly in front of them and convince them to give, it’s important to take advantage of all the platforms at your disposal, including social media. Strategic use of social media can help you stay top of mind with your donors between events and major giving seasons, so when you’re ready to reach out to ask them to donate, they’ll be more likely to oblige since they’ll have seen all the good work you do from your posts on social media.
Ask About Matching Gift Programs to Improve Your Nonprofit Fundraising Efforts
Many companies offer to match donations made by their staff up to a certain dollar amount, so once you get a donation from someone, ask if their company has a matching gift program. They might not even know if their company has a matching gift program, so if you ask them to check, you’ll be much more likely to get that extra donation.
As a marketer and Strategy Rockstar who spent years helping nonprofits boost their revenue before going into business for myself, I have all the tools to help you take your nonprofit fundraising to the next level. Whether you need help identifying and using the right nonprofit tools (which is one of my specialties), or making the most of the revenue you have coming in, I can help. Schedule a FREE clarity call now to see how I can help you be more strategic, intentional, and successful in running and raising money for your nonprofit.
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