Is your nonprofit organization poised for growth? Whether you’re looking to expand your staff and volunteer team, reach more people in your community, expand your geographic reach or addnew service areas, when the time is right to focus on growth–you’ll know. To help ensure your long-term growth plan is successful and does not impact your current mission or those you serve, here are a few tips on planning and implementing a successful growth strategy for your nonprofit.
1. Expand your mission
The first step to growing your nonprofit is understanding your current vision, mission, and scope of services. Before you look towards growth or expansion, make sure your team, partners, and community understand who you serve and what your services are. Next, set clear goals for what, how, and when you are going to expand, and most importantly –why. Once you’ve set clear expectations on how and why you want to grow, you need to understand how you are going to track that growth, effectively measures success, and ensure your planned changes done negatively impact your current clients. Some nonprofits choose to bring in an outsider to help identify, define and plan for growth in key areas. This could be a community partner or a paid professional.
2. Communicate your big wins
Once you’ve decided on a plan for growth, it’s important to track, measure, and then communicate your success. There will definitely be setbacks along the way, so the most important thing you can do is to communicate clearly and truthfully about the progress towards your goals. Communicating to your team members, donors, leadership, partners, clients, and the community will engage your full team of supporters around your challenges and goals. Collecting and responding to feedback will also help ensure your client base continues to be served effectively and feels like they are part of your future. If you’re expanding who you serve, you may also need to consider new ways to communicate. Depending on the new audiences, consider engaging new partners, launching social media channels, updating your website, or creating a targeted email or printed mailers.
3. Launch a monthly giving program
Long-term engagement of partners, funders, and new audiences are important when planning for growth because growth doesn’t happen overnight. Instead of one event or funding campaign, you may be looking at years-long donor engagement campaigns to reach your target growth goals. To engage individual donors and community partners more than once a year, launch a monthly giving program targeted at supporting your expansion efforts. When funders have a chance to make recurring monthly donations and receive a thank-you communication from your team, with updates on your growth progress, they’ll stay more engaged throughout the entire year and may give more, in the long run, to support your goals along the way.
4. Grow your board
Another way to expand your reach is to grow your board of directors. Adding diverse board members, including young leaders from your community, is a great way to engage new audiences and spur additional investment in your organization. Make sure your new and current board members understand their important role in your growth plan and give them the tools to help –with a toolkit of fundraising messages, clear roles and responsibilities, and more. Adding diverse voices to your leadership team is essential to reach new audiences and engage new donors.
5. Engage your members
Don’t forget to check in with the people you serve! While you’re focusing on growing your nonprofit, it’s important that you continue to serve your current clients at the same level of excellence. That means continuing to measure success, communicate effectively and engage current members. A highly educated and well-served membership can be an important tool in helping to communicate your success, reach new partners and meet your long-term growth goals, as they are your most important voice in the community!