Best Practices for Nonprofit Sustainability – Part 2

      While there is no single definition of best practices for nonprofits, there are proven standards and practices that foster sustainability and effectively guide staff and board.  Following are additional recognized best practices that supplement our existing checklist.  Understanding their significance and implementing them, creates a checklist that should move your organization to sustainability.

  • Stop living month to month; devise a long-term sustainability plan
  • Create a reserve fund policy and build that reserve—sooner rather than later
  • Be sure every position for both staff and volunteers has a job description that is updated annually.  Use that job description to hold people accountable
  • Set aside 10-15 minutes at every board meeting for professional development for board members
  • Executive directors must balance working in the organization with working on the organization
  • The executive director and board president/chair must have protected time in their calendars to “meet” once every two weeks, alternating face-to-face meetings with virtual meetings
  • Create diversified incomes strategies for each individual program and for the organization as a whole
  • Ensure that every board member ready, able and being an ambassador for the organization
  • Keep core values alive and active in the organizational culture, holding everyone—from staff to board members to other volunteers to clients—accountable for living and breathing them every day
  • Know your core competencies and never dilute them
  • Be sure that each and every program not only helps to fulfill your mission promises but that each has a business model that supports (through designated raised and/or earned dollars) its true costs and has an evaluation protocol that provides data to show what is working, what is not and where and how things could and should be improved.  Use this data to make decisions as to which programs to expand, which to cut lose and which to put on a time-delimited performance improvement plan to determine its fate.

If you missed part 1 of the Best Practices Tip Sheet, click here >>