While nonprofits and entrepreneurial startups are run in dramatically different ways, there’s a lot they have in common. Both often navigate perilous financial situations and spend time seeking the funding they need to achieve their goals. Both seek to reach their intended audience and provide a valuable service, relying on good marketing to do so. For the nonprofit leader looking to switch up their approach, some of the best tactics come from the for-profit sphere.
EVALUATE THE CAUSE
Finding a new cause to support or creating a new program can be exciting for any nonprofit organization. While preparing for the launch of the program or project, it’s easy to get over-excited—especially with big plans in the works. When running a nonprofit, it’s important to assess the need for a new project before launching.
Before putting in the long hours and grueling work to create a program or service, consider everything that goes into it. Assess the project the same way a startup would pitch their next big idea. Consider the costs, the resources expended, and whether it would fulfill a need. The best startups create products and services that solve a problem for a specific population, and any new nonprofit initiative should do the same.
KEEP IT CREATIVE
There are a lot of nonprofits all looking to make a change and the funding to do so. It’s important to be unique and creative when starting a new project. For-profit startups must do the same. Each new startup promises to be the most revolutionary and innovative, but they must come up with a unique value proposition to sell their customers. Nonprofits must do the same by clearly defining why their program or service is going to be different. These organizations should assess what they do well and make their strengths their primary focus when generating new ideas.
TEST IT OUT FIRST
When a for-profit startup has found their unique edge and has everything ready to launch, they take it for a test-drive first. To do this, they start with a minimum viable product to test out a scaled-down of their service to get feedback from users. Nonprofits can do this as well with any new services or projects. Take the most crucial feature of the project and go from there. When testing it out, ask users what could be changed or what should be done differently.
Determining an audience and testing a service with them is the best way to ensure that they’re getting the help they need. Even when it comes to something as simple as accepting donations, the way funds and supplies are solicited and received is important. Nonprofits should ensure that it’s easy for their donors to give and incentivize repeat donations.
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