New Guidelines for Nonprofits is an important part of the answer I will be providing nonprofit staff, board members and volunteers who request credible resources to guide them in navigating the maze of policy, operations and other complex challenges. No one wants to start from scratch and make the same mistakes that others in similar positions have made before them. In fact, they don’t have to.
New Guidelines for Nonprofits from the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives (NANOE) could be exactly what so many professionals and volunteers have been looking for. It is far reaching in scope, consisting of nearly 1,000 pages that address the broad spectrum of issues facing charities and helping ensure that they are effective, efficient and positioned to achieve their goals.
Nonprofits — regardless of their mission, size and geography — share many more similarities than differences. Studying the successes and failures of others is a prudent starting point in learning how best to fulfill your organization’s mission and serve its stakeholders. But where can you find that information?
I know what you’re thinking: a thousand pages is too much. The good news is, New Guidelines for Nonprofits is smartly organized, and you can scan the contents to quickly find and focus on the subjects and issues that interest you the most.
The material is presented in a total of seven separate booklets consisting of an overview (a must read) and major recommendations for growth and impact in six specific areas:
#1 Network & Engage: Harness the power of differentiated relationships. Build relationships that are networked, equal, equitable, engaged, reciprocal, trusting and accountable.
#2 Strong CEOs: Hire a strong CEO whose character, competence, courage, vision, achievements and actions ensure your charity soars.
#3 Build Financial Capacity: Build financial capacity by securing technology, equipment, facilities, recovery, working, and legacy capital for significant impacts.
#4 Boost Financial Capacity: Boost financial capacity by securing opportunity, risk, & change capital for significant impacts.
#5 Evaluate Impact: Evaluate impact before, during and after strategic growth actions.
#6 System Shock: Choose a leadership and governance culture that makes a significant impact and ultimately transforms current complex social and environmental situations into a new and better world!
This resource is a huge asset. If there’s a problem, issue or challenge your nonprofit is grappling with, it’s covered in this publication. You name the area and it is addressed: governance, management and leadership, finance and legal, resource development, advocacy, marketing, communications, human capital, technology, volunteers, and more. The contents are purposely labeled “guidelines” instead of best practices.
The project was led and authored by Dr. Kathleen Robinson, NANOE Co-Founder CEO, and is intended to push the envelope and challenge the status quo in encouraging the nonprofit sector to aim and reach higher. In late 2016 and early 2017, 3,600 nonprofit leaders joined the NANOE Board of Governors and provided feedback on the value and importance of each guideline, what concerned them about what was said, and why. They pointed out ideas that were not clear or needed amplification and identified additional practices. Their input is reflected in this compilation.
Something I really appreciated is that it’s eminently readable and digestible. As a trainer/consultant passionate about fundraising, the emphasis on perpetual improvement aligns with the lessons and exercises of my workshops. Nonprofits owe their stakeholders and themselves an unrelenting commitment to getting better in everything they do. New Guidelines for Nonprofits is a well-reasoned resource to help expedite the journey.
As a fundraiser, I’m also tempted to think that the success of our nonprofits depends primarily on our ability to adequately develop resources. But over time, I’ve developed a keen appreciation of the stakes riding on the smooth implementation of programs and delivery of services. Just as 80 percent of mountain climbing accidents occur on the way down, not on the journey up, nonprofits encounter more problems spending rather than raising donor dollars. You’ll find these issues analyzed with key practices prescribed.
New Guidelines for Nonprofits represents a much-needed compendium of wisdom, experience and perspective collected from and shaped by practitioners. People throughout the robust nonprofit sector in healthcare, education, the arts, economic development, animal welfare and other areas will benefit from reviewing it and considering its application. The overarching goal is to build greater capacity so whatever the mission might be, more positive results and impact can be achieved.
It has also become available at an opportune time, when there’s an escalating urgency for nonprofits to become stronger and more efficient. Whether we like or not, government’s role in meeting and funding myriad human service needs is likely to continue to shrink. At the same time, American philanthropy grows more competitive every day. There are more than 1.5 million non-profit organizations registered with the IRS. Three-quarters of American nonprofits have annual budgets under $1 million, and most are even smaller. Nonprofit leaders and champions are being asked to do more and enter and become knowledgeable in new and different areas, often with the support of extremely limited staff and resources. New Guidelines for Nonprofits offers a toolkit for resource-strapped organizations to tackle these challenges from a position of strength.
The nonprofit sector deserves to be equipped in the most formidable manner possible. At $1.5 trillion it accounts for nearly 10 percent of the U.S. economy and plays a steadily growing role in improving the quality of life locally, nationally and around the world. Nonprofit leaders are truly engaged in noble endeavors and need to be supported by research, scholarship and the best thinking of peers and colleagues.
While it is ultimately up to each nonprofit and its board and staff leadership to decide for themselves their respective paths to organization soundness, greater capacity and growth, New Guidelines for Nonprofits is a valuable and timely resource for assessment, retrospection and decision-making in charting the future.
Nonprofit leaders can access all 995 pages of New Guidelines for Nonprofits by joining the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives (as little as $100 per year!) Their membership benefits are numerous and will ensure you build the financial capacity you need to accomplish your important mission. VISIT HERE to get started today.
New Guidelines for Nonprofits – NANOE’s 2020 New Year’s Gift was written by Tracy Ebarb, CNE, CDE, CNC.
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