Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Try Thinking Like a Business

Every day business owners have the opportunity to attend – either virtually via webinars or in person – seminars designed to help them improve their businesses. Topics include advice on ways to take their businesses “to the next level” in such areas as technology, social media, marketing, human resources, finance, general management. Could some of this advice also be helpful to not-for- profits? Should NFPs pay more attention to business practices? Why not?

In a very real sense, NFPs are engaged in business.  The product is the mission and/or services offered. And fund raising is sales. NFPs have human resources issues.  NFPs need to know about and apply technology for greater efficiency, and even as part of the fund raising plan.  Information about bank financing options is also valid.  NFPs frequently finance expansion projects and meet cash-flow needs with the assistance of loans and lines of credit. 

Leaders in the field note that NFP managers need to realign themselves and what they do: to think entrepreneurially.  They should look at the efficiencies of what they already do, consider ways to change the culture of their operations by finding more methodical ways of ‘doing business’ – in other words, by applying an entrepreneurial sense to achieving mission.
So the next time you have an opportunity to attend a workshop for “business people,” go!  You’d be surprised how much you can learn that is applicable to the management of your NFP. 

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