Sustainability for nonprofits: A tricky business

Sustainability should be a long-term goal of business owners and leaders. For many businesses, investing in business tools that lead to better products and services is a sure formula for success. Only when companies start to make profit could growth, expansion, and sustainability follow.

But what if the company is a nonprofit? How will owners and managers increase the chances of making the business sustainable?

While it’s true that the visionaries of nonprofits often have the best intentions, organizational longevity is another matter. And for nonprofits, this is where it gets incredibly tricky.

Nonprofit owners should remember that they are running a business; and like all other businesses, nonprofits need certain things to keep it alive, and ultimately, sustainable.

One of the most important things nonprofits should have to help it survive, flourish, and achieve sustainability is a strong leader. From the onset, nonprofit owners should choose managers and supervisors with a strong moral character and a highly-developed business acumen. Without strong leadership, the business will lose direction, and this latter is indispensable.

Next, nonprofit owners have to consider the lifeblood of their business. Given the nature of nonprofits, the focus here is to look for potential donors. Experienced owners of successful and sustainable nonprofits know that every potential donor matters. Yes, every one of them, not just the big fish. Smaller clients may not give as much in terms of funding, but they may be a rich source of leads. Nonprofits should never underestimate the power of people when it comes to advertising a business, even one such as a nonprofit.

Finally, nonprofit owners should never lose sight of their cause once they taste a measure of success. It’s the cause of a nonprofit that sells it.

Can you think of other ways nonprofits can achieve sustainability? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.

Haris Ahmed is the top management consultant and CEO of Pragmatium Consulting Group Inc. In an environment where approximately 50 percent of businesses fold in the first three years, he emphasizes the importance of sustainability. Learn more about him and his job by visiting this Twitter page.

Tags: nonprofits, sustainability, facts


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