A well-planned growth strategy is beyond a marketing strategy that is designed to help grow and scale any business. Growth strategies for nonprofits are quite similar to any business or startup.
Over 50% of the nonprofits every year fail or stop operations within a few years due to lack of proper leadership and unclear growth strategy. On the other hand, successful nonprofits look to convert potential challenges into opportunities.
Nonprofits constantly look for ideas on how to increase brand awareness, convert one-time donors to recurring donors, how to retain donors and how to effectively make use of technology to enhance growth.
Below are 7 nonprofit growth strategies to help attain long-term sustainable growth:
1. Think big, Change your mindset
If you wish to make a big impact on society, then aim higher. Define your short and long-term goals, plan on how to scale up your work, how you will be raising funds to run your organisation or campaigns and finally stay focused and learn when to say “no” to attain required success.
2. Transparency is key
Embrace transparency as a part of your overall growth strategy. It helps to build trust and maintain the confidence among staff, volunteers, staff, supporters and especially donors. Donors would like to know where their hard earned money is going along with the impact of their giving. Making use of appropriate CRM, accounting, donor management, fundraising software etc. to streamline processes, gain transparency and build trustworthiness.
3. Recruiting the right board members
Every nonprofit organisation will need a highly capable and committed leadership team to be successful in the mission. And, recruiting the right board members is a key step in cultivating a leadership team that inspires and makes things happen. Your board members and executive director should share a common vision of your nonprofit organisation’s mission and direction for growth.
In order to create a strong board, you need to continuously look to recruit new board members and not when you lose or drop someone. You need to keep analysing what your current board is lacking in terms of skills, experience, and expertise depending upon your type and size of organisation.
4. Invest in technology
Nonprofits used to spend some money on technology but not investing in it until Covid-19 came in. Investing in the right technologies can help nonprofit organisations serve their missions better, reach larger / new audiences, increase donor retention, improve user engagement, automate repetitive tasks and run more efficiently. Hence, every nonprofit today should invest roughly around 6-10% of their annual revenues into technology to embrace digital transformation and tackle challenges like covid-19 in future.
5. Getting social
Nonprofit cannot ignore the potential and growing importance of social media today. Whether to generate brand awareness, raise funds, recruit volunteers, host events, drive traffic or build email lists, it's easy and cost-effective to reach out to a targeted audience and educate about the cause.
You need not be available on all social media platforms. You can pick the ones based on where most of your target audience uses, how much time you can invest and what budget you can allocate. Definitely social media marketing is time consuming and resource intensive but it's quite effective to invest.
6. Showcase your nonprofit’s impact
One of the under-utilised ways to raise more funds for your nonprofit organisation is by showcasing the social impact of your work with donations received. This will encourage new donors to contribute and increase the chances of converting one-time donors to recurring donors.
7. Appreciate contributions
It’s important to celebrate every success and achievements on completing each milestone of growth - whether it’s small or big. Appreciate the efforts of your staff and volunteers to help achieve your mission goals. You can do this by sending a newsletter to an email list, mentioning on your website, writing a personalised letter or sending a small gift.
Don’t ignore the valuable contribution of donors while celebrating your success. You can send out “thank you” emails to all donors and give a pleasant surprise by making a phone call or sending a handwritten letter. Also, take this opportunity to invite them to participate in your upcoming in-person or online event.