The Start-Up Nonprofit: 5 Pillars To Developing A Nonprofit

The Start-Up Nonprofit

5 Pillars to Developing A Nonprofit

It’s March Madness so you know the season is right with me. Anytime I head home from work and I need to find me a cute place to relax and have dinner, they are sure to have on some college basketball. Basketball is my absolute favorite sport. I love it so much that I have even considered how the start-up process of a nonprofit is similar to the development stages you go through as a basketball player. 

I played basketball in middle school, high school, and a semester in college. When pursuing a career in basketball, you have to understand that your life literally revolves around the different seasons of the profession. Your “Rookie” year is the year you are getting all the basics and fundamentals of the game. “Regular” season is a time of hustle and development. Once you enter the “Playoffs” you have ACCESS to becoming a champion of the game. 

Developing Your Nonprofit

The stages of development with building a sustainable nonprofit aren’t really too different. During your “Rookie” year as a start-up nonprofit it seems you are having to spend a lot of time and energy competing for recognition and awareness against the Michael Jordans and Larry Birds of the nonprofit industry. During your “Rookie” year you barely get the ball because they don’t see any value in your ability because your new to the game. And even when you do score, it seems like its nowhere near enough considering what you have to go through to be able to compete. 

“Regular” season is around year 3-5. It is during this time you are developing your skills to become a true athlete. You don’t give up. You read more books. Change your eating habits and sleep routine. During “Regular” season your relationships with other people even change. 

Through all this development, you become such an athlete, committed to your game that you take it a step further and invest in you a personal trainer. As a retired basketball coach of 6th grade boys, I am honored that you are scouting our nonprofit team to play on. 

5 Pillars of a Sustainable Nonprofit

A few weeks ago I had a meeting to discuss a potential partnership between the organization I work for as Director of Development and Outreach and another nonprofit organization. In the reception are of their office was a picture of the organizations founder, their very first office building, which was a church, and the first executive director of the organization. The pictures were posted to tell the story behind the foundation of which the organization was built on. 

The organization was over 80 years old and the first executive director of the organization was in that position just as long as the founder had been in his. Story’s as such are important for nonprofit organizations because it represents success in meeting your organizations mission. 

Statistically most nonprofits don’t last longer than 5 years. To be in business for over 80 years shows how committed this organization was to meeting the needs of its cause. That is exactly what I want for my nonprofit organization FASTell Girl Model2Mentor Program and what I want to see for yours. My goal for the Start-Up Nonprofit is to help other community service organizations gain trusted knowledge and expertise in knowing they are on the path to long-term sustainability in meeting the needs of those they serve.

  • Pain- sustainable nonprofits meet a need that is associated with the healing of a pain point. For instance, FASTell Girl was developed to impact the increased cases of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation in at-risk adolescent girls. The pain point to my cause is that I too lived with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation as an adolescent. I can meet a need associated with this pain point because I can relate and I have been professionally trained to know what works.  
  • Principle- each and every last nonprofit that has been in business successfully over the years stands on principle behind their cause. Having principles that align with your causes goals and objectives allows for the organization to stay focused, on task, and disciplined in its strategies. 
  • Passion-is what holds a start-up non profit together when it seems like the vision is getting blurry. Its another level of energy that helps drive power behind the mission. 
  • Purpose- in order for anything to live it must have life. There must be a purpose behind your cause for you nonprofit to have a story. People connect to causes through the story. 
  • Profit- Wasn’t expecting that one were you? Most aren’t because people want to associate nonprofit with struggling, begging, and hustling. But no, a nonprofit must have profit to be in business. The only difference between a nonprofit and a for-profit is that the annual revenue of a nonprofit must go back into the operations of the organization instead of it being paid to shareholders through raises and bonuses.

Rookie of the Year

Establishing a nonprofit should be a life-long commitment. I say should. because there are those that are formed to be a means of making a living through grants. donors, and sponsorships. Some people do in fact form nonprofit organizations to take advantage of all the benefits that come with the business structure. 

Making a commitment to serve others to make this world a better place is worth more than any income. When you commit to something life-long, you are committing to change, growth, adaptability, and constant development. 

Now that we have established a heart to serve through building a sustainable nonprofit, it time to train. Sign up HERE to attend a FREE workshop, The Start-Up Nonprofit “Rookie” Training Guide. 

This workshop will teach you everything you need to know to get your nonprofit started. Even if you are already registered, we will be sharing valuable tips and tools to help you with structuring and funding. Can’t wait to see you there. 

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