Nonprofit Challenges: 2 Failures You Can’t Do

Having a successful nonprofit organization is getting tougher, and at the same time, easier. What do I mean by that? Remarkably, nonprofit challenges remain and seem to get harder for many groups. And that’s especially true of the smaller ones. On the flip side, we have technology and artificial intelligence that’s making it easier for nonprofits to perform. Still, nonprofits fail because of two critical things.

The two major, but common problems faced by nonprofit organizations, are the following:

  1. Staff turnover
  2. Leadership

 The nonprofit challenge concerning employee turnover

Most nonprofits are small. In fact, 59.09 percent have budgets of less than $250,000. And, what happens when nonprofits can’t grow and survive is that they skimp on paying people a good salary. If you’ve worked in the nonprofit sector for a while, you know there is a big nonprofit challenge concerning turnover. Several years ago, Mazarine Treyz published an article called, “What happens when you don’t pay a living wage.” It was an excellent piece, and I suggest that you take a read of it.

I am aware that small nonprofits with limited resources have to be careful about how they spend their money. But turnover is one of the most common problems faced by nonprofit organizations. And, it prevents them from growing and developing their programs. In other words, it’s essential to invest in your nonprofit team! Also, since there’s a lot more competition for fundraising dollars, figuring out how to stop people from leaving is vital.

For groups to succeed, nonprofit leaders must stem the problem of employee turnover. I’ve seen too many times the nonprofit challenge of a revolving door of fundraisers. For example, I’ve seen major gift officers on the job no more than three months before they’re fired or pushed out the door. And that has to do with unrealistic expectations about raising money. Of course, it’s unrealistic when fundraisers have to “rain money” with no support from nonprofit leaders.

Check out how to onboard your nonprofit team with ease!

Lack of leadership continues to confound nonprofit leaders

In today’s world, we have a lot of things distracting everyone. Donors see thousands of images and calls to action for their attention. As a result, your nonprofit is not the only demand on their time nor appeal for help they see on any given day. The fact that there’s so much information out there is a nonprofit challenge that is very valid. However, this is where leadership is an absolute necessity.

I think that one of the best investments that a charity can make is to coach their leadership and fundraisers. If I were starting a new nonprofit again, one of the people I might hire is a coach with a proven track record. Consequently, I would then give them the time and the resources they need for working with our board of directors and nonprofit people—to be leaders. (Take a look at my 5 tips on nonprofit governance). As I’ve always said, leaders are not born. Leadership is a learned skill and one that you can keep on developing during your entire professional career.

However, without leadership, there’s simply no success at any nonprofit or business. So, it’s one of the top nonprofit challenges. Every area of your group needs leadership (e.g., marketing (get pro tips here), programs, operations, fundraising). Leadership requires vision and energy. And, by the way, leadership is a team effort, meaning everyone has to support the work.

Success comes from a group of leaders developing strategy, focus, and staying consistent.


© 2020 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.


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Nonprofit Challenges: 2 Failures You Can’t Do