Whether you're aspiring to lead a nonprofit organization or if you'd simply like to become involved with one in a professional capacity, even a cursory internet search can be very eye-opening. What are all of these strange words and obscure concepts? Don’t close the tab or click on something else, though. Get excited!
The truth is, the very foreign terms and concepts can appear intimidating at first glance. However, the challenging concepts actually represent increased potential for innovation, creativity, and real impact on people and communities. These five concepts are common amongst nonprofit organizations, and, if any of them appeal to you, you might want to take a closer look at nonprofit management.
1. You Work Within A Unique Tax Structure.
Nonprofit organizations enjoy tax-exempt status under federal law. Although nonprofits do not pay taxes to federal, state, or local governments, they still have limited legal liability, making their financials difficult for creditors to access.
In a leadership role, you will not be personally liable for the organization’s financials, but you will be very involved in maintaining its financial well being. You want responsibility? You got it!
2. Your Effective Grant Writing = Extensive Grant Receiving.
A fundamental activity within nonprofit organization operations is the process of securing funds, usually from a government organization or private foundation, for specific organizational purposes.
Possessing knowledge in grant administration can help when navigating the different nuances and policies associated with grant funds and can ensure that your organization maintains financial backing … largely due to your own polished knowledge and abilities.
3. This is Your Chance to be the General Manager . . .
Maintaining appropriate staffing levels, both in terms of overall quantity and composition, is vital for organizational success. Your organization may need to employ highly-qualified professionals, such as social workers, psychologists, physicians, counselors, but with less funding than private sector companies possess to compensate their associated expertise. Your ability to sell your organization’s mission and importance is therefore vital to recruitment and retention efforts. How is that elevator speech coming along?
4. . . . and Administrative Jack-of-all-Trades.
Nonprofits are unique in that professional administration and management positions may be minimally staffed. You may personally be in charge of managing all operations in the organization, serving as a kind of administrative liaison for professional or technical staff.
Additionally, your position might require managing all operations (staff management, employee payroll, benefits administration, inventory, operation of standard office equipment, etc.) so get to work developing some of those competencies!
5. You Get to Build (and Nurture) Important Relationships.
Private donor funding can be an extremely large source of your organization’s financing efforts. Donors can be considered organizational stakeholders because, without them, the organization might cease to exist! Identifying donors and reaching out to them in an effective manner can be the difference between organizational rag and riches.
Not surprisingly, many donors are deeply invested in organizational operations (it is their money, after all!) and become active participants, oftentimes sitting on boards of directors. Your ability to not only incorporate these actors into your organization’s operations, but to maintain the transparency that is desired will prove to be equally stressful and rewarding.
Sound like fun? Then get excited as these are only a sampling of the numerous demanding yet rewarding duties that are involved in nonprofit management and administration!