3 Traits of a Nonprofit Focused on Community Success




The Austin area is home to thousands of nonprofit organizations that are working hard to tackle the issues facing our community. Their own success is based on community success and measurable community change. Many organizations have sophisticated business models in place, and nonprofits are increasingly bold problem-solvers. But what does it mean to be focused on community success? What does it take to get there?

Choose to Lead

As one of its top nonprofit trends to watch in 2016, Social Velocity predicts we’ll see new opportunities for the nonprofit sector to lead. We know that nonprofits are at the heart of the social sector, and critical to solving community problems. Successful nonprofits often demonstrate their leadership by:

  • Inspiring and motivating their supporters: A clear mission and vision help give a nonprofit a strong voice in the community. This voice as a leader impacts a nonprofit’s ability to cultivate community supporters, donors, volunteers, board members, and more.
  • Forging strong connections with peers: Successful nonprofits don’t make progress in a vacuum. Nonprofit professionals connect with and learn from each other.

Work Together

Acting as a leader within their system–whether working to improve education, mental health, the environment or any other issue–it’s important for nonprofits to understand their role in the broader system. What other key players are in the space? Outside of the nonprofit community, can businesses, government, or community leaders be engaged? When appropriate, entities work collaboratively (instead of defensively) toward a common goal.

The recently published Nonprofit Effectiveness Framework provides examples of how strategic collaborations play a role in creating social change, stating “complexity of social problems means that effective nonprofits are prepared to think differently about how best to achieve real community progress.”

Think Ahead

Community change doesn’t happen overnight. Savvy nonprofits find time to think ahead–not just five months down the road, but five years. There are inevitably short-term fires to put out, but to foster community success a nonprofit needs to ensure its own long-term organizational success.

This means introducing best practices and strong procedures where needed. As the Nonprofit Effectiveness Framework points out, there isn’t a universal formula or magic answer. However, the elements of the framework are critical nonprofit success, and thus community success. A forward-thinking nonprofit will look inward first. They think critically about their work, and plan ahead for how to improve and grow, year after year.

You’re Not Alone

Nonprofit professionals focused on community success connect with other leaders who share your passion and can help move your vision forward. Many of these leading, forward thinking, community-success-driven nonprofits are Mission Capital members. Nonprofit members connect to a reliable community of nonprofit peers and gain access to valuable tools and resources to propel their organization forward. Over the past few months, Mission Capital has hosted nonprofit members-only Mission Meet-Ups, with each session focusing on an element of the effectiveness framework. Members who missed one of the meet-ups in this series can log on to the 501(c)ommunity to download meeting notes and self-assessment tools. Not a member? Join or renew by midnight on February 29 for a chance to win a free conference ticket or an iPad mini for your nonprofit.

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