10 signs your nonprofit is in trouble

1. Your leadership fails to have vision
It’s important that your organization’s leadership has a clear vision for the direction of the organization. This vision must be clear from the top to the bottom and everyone should understand where the organization is headed. Your organization’s leader should be interested in taking the organization to the next level and not coasting on previous successes. They should be innovative and have a far-reaching agenda set for the future. If they don’t, the organization could easily fall into a slump.

2. The work environment is boring
You have a staff full of people passionate about your mission, but they hate coming in to work. Try to keep the environment light and interesting by thinking of ways to make your staff happy. Think outside the box to bring a level of excitement to work. Dedicate time to finding ways that your staff feel heard and a part of the organization’s growth. If they don’t, you’ll never gain their commitment.

3. A job well-done is not recognized
Your leaders should recognize outstanding work. When people are working in a mission-driven organization, they should feel like they are a part of the organization’s progress. Rewarding outstanding work is vital to maintaining good staff and creating a good corporate culture. People who are happy with their place of employment will translate that to the people you aim to serve. In addition to that, they will speak highly about where they work and create a positive buzz about your organization. The last thing you would want is constant turnover and people destroying your reputation. Hire a talented staff and reward them for their hard-work.

4. Ignoring new issues facing your constituency
Over time, things may change in the group that you serve. However, you have to be able to meet the changing demands that come your way. A common issue for nonprofits is a change in local demographics. For example, you run a homeless shelter but the city has made changes to the city’s planning and the homeless can’t get to you. What do you do? It’s these type of issues that put organization’s in danger all the time. But, you have to have a plan in place to resolve them. Paying attention to what’s going on in your local and state government is vital to your organization’s success.

5. Poor communication
Your organization does amazing work but nobody knows what you’re doing. You have to seize opportunities to share your organization’s wins and successes with your donors. You can do this in many different ways, but if people don’t know you’re a winner then you look like a loser. Utilizing good marketing and public relations is essential to promoting the mission of your organization.

6. Lackluster planning
Simple. Every activity you do should be properly thought out from beginning to end. If you look ill-prepared to those you serve, you look incompetent. If your events always start late and are unorganized, who would want to fund you? Keep these things in mind and remember that you must aim to be on point with everything that you plan.

7. Transparency
You’re bringing in a ton of money and nobody knows what you’re spending it on. You must be transparent if you’re to be in the nonprofit game. If you are operating under a federal tax code designated for nonprofits, this makes it possible for your supporters to see your tax paper work online. But, as an organization you should be sending your supporters annual reports to let them know how your organization spends money and what the annual expenses look like. If you’re not disclosing what you’re doing with your supporters hard-earned money it translates that you are not appreciative.

8. Over-soliciting
Although it costs to fund your programs, you should not be constantly soliciting your funders. Create a funding strategy and stick to it. People can be fickle when it comes to giving so make sure that your donation sources are happy and that they are a part of the long-term financial plan. You should know what they give and your marketing should be appropriate to that demographic.

9. Failure to embrace technology
Today, there is so much technology accessible to nonprofits. It could mean so much for your record-keeping, your donation collection, and your contacts. Databases, apps, and social networks are designed to maximize your reach and simplify the work that you do. There are so many talented fundraisers from the old-school who can get a lot of impact using traditional methods but they can be expensive. There are a lot of cheaper and more convenient ways to do your day to day tasks. It would be a mistake not to embrace the advances in technology for your organization’s growth.

10. Collaboration
I get it. We often feel like we alone are the single answer to all of the problems that our service-recipients are faced. However, that’s not necessarily the case. It’s important to collaborate with other organizations to best serve your people and maximize your impact. Look around and see who you should be aligned with in your local backyard. And, the best thing about collaborating is that you can share resources like meeting space, events, and brand power. If your organization is not collaborating with other organizations and or pursue corporate sponsorships, you should want to know why.

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