Nonprofit founders have it tough, no doubt about it. But as a founder, do you know where your organization stands on its path to sustainability? More to the point, do you know what you need to get there? It’s about money, yes. But it’s surely more than that, right?Read More
We frequently talk with founders of tech and nonprofit startups, and we see a lot of similarities. Both nonprofit and tech founders are entrepreneurial, passionate about their ideas and face countless challenges ranging from the strategic to the tactical and mundane--any of which can rise up to bite the founder in the behind. Interestingly, the management literature* largely confirms our observations.
You might ask, what’s the biggest challenge facing nonprofit entrepreneurs? Money, money, MONEY! That’s right, it’s a lack of access to capital. No surprise, but we’re here to say and the literature confirms it:
Nonprofit founders face more challenges in raising capital than their tech founder brethren.Read More
It’s fair to say that almost every nonprofit professional I’ve ever met has a passionate interest in doing better, or in a word: innovating. At the same time, innovation is often elusive, especially in under-capitalized smaller nonprofits, but also in larger institutions that have a way of stifling initiative.
We do know innovation when we see it, though, so that’s why we recently spoke with Conrad Hollomon, Executive Director at Operation Code, a truly innovative nonprofit run by veterans that helps veterans and military spouses break into the tech industry.Read More
Nonprofit leaders should make greater use of what Kevin Barenblat calls "nonprofit judo."
Writing in a recent Harvard Business Review piece, Barentblat recognizes that nonprofits are typically focused on providing services in situations where markets either don't work or aren't working. The best, he says, successfully leverage what would be a weakness in a for-profit context to their competitive advantage. Nonprofit judo, in other words.
Nonprofit leaders worth their salt know this…Read More
We hear a lot about innovation these days. Tech is obsessed with disruption, sometimes to the great benefit of the masses, and sometimes without enough thought to “to what end” and “for whom--and who gets left behind?”. Foundations want to fund innovative ideas (but not without proof, and not with too much risk). Nonprofits that want to stand out and be able to compete for funding may be eager to position their programs as innovative. And some of us are left scratching our heads, wondering what all the fuss is about--our work is already great, after all--and how does one innovate, anyway?Read More
Tired of articles and blog posts listing a bunch of things you should do to improve on how you run your nonprofit? Or your life for that matter?
I am. Here’s why.
They’re often irrelevant because they don’t have anything to do with you or your nonprofit.
The folks writing up these lists don’t always have much to say. No offense, but they’re desperate to produce content, and sometimes they’re just scraping the bottom of the barrel…
We tend to think of innovation as one great bang of creativity. It certainly can be, but more often it’s the result of a cycle of curiosity and exploration, idea generation and experimentation, and incremental progress. A recent HBR piece offers some great insights for practicing this in our program work.Read More
Nonprofits don't need to be more like tech start-ups. But they can adapt some of tech's strategies and tools to aid in their own innovation processes. Here, a closer look at user experience, or UX in program design.Read More