NonProfit Business Basics

Here is an interesting piece about running a non-profit organization.

To transform lofty aspirations into quantifiable impact, nonprofits need to become more familiar with traditional business tools such as business plans, precise mission statements, and goal setting to improve their performance.

That was the message from Jeff Bradach, co-founder and managing partner of The Bridgespan Group, a not-for-profit strategic consulting firm dedicated to nonprofits. Bradach spoke to an audience at Harvard Business School on January 21, 2004 as part of the Social Enterprise Faculty Seminar Series.

Today's business climate demands accountability from organizations. At the same time, both for-profit and nonprofit companies are subject to intense media scrutiny and increased expectations to account for their actions. These changes, Bradach said, are starting to have a profound effect on how nonprofits view themselves. There is growing competitive pressure on nonprofits to focus on their organizations and strategies, not just the social value their organization creates. Even more importantly, nonprofits are beginning to look at ways to produce measurable proof that what they do works.

I don't think this is out of the scope of "business," because it is the same thing only results are measured in social impact instead of profits. Many of the same management principles apply to non-profits. What I think is difficult with this field is that because the work of non-profits is usually based on need, they often fail to maximize their social impact. Some are more focused on intentions rather than results, and that can negatively affect the way they are run.

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