3 of the Biggest Struggles for Nonprofits (and How to Overcome)

As an organization that helps other nonprofit organizations, it’s safe to say that Ministry Ventures (MV) has had its share of experience in the nonprofit sector. And then some.

That’s because MV helps faith-based nonprofits thrive in five key areas of development. Joshua Randolph, Business and Technology Solutions Administrator, said the organization had faced many of the same challenges that other organizations face.

From keeping donors engaged to finding ways to be resourceful, MV has seen a lot. And MV is doing a pretty great job at conquering those obstacles, if we do say so ourselves. So see how they’re tackling some of the biggest issues and how you can learn from them.

Struggle #1—Retaining/Engaging Donors

Without donors, we’d be nothing. They’re the peanut butter to our jelly and the Batman to our Robin. What would we do without them?

So how do you keep them invested?

Randolph said nonprofits would need to keep donors engaged and let them know that they’re part of the team. Tell them that they’re one of the most (if not most) integral parts of your organization.

We want to make sure we are honoring those who have invested in us and believe in us and [are] keeping the stories in front of them.” Randolph said.

And keeping contributors interested is going to take a huge amount of effort on your part. But it’s not effort wasted. Those lasting relationships will help you cultivate future donations and support.

Make sure to make your donors feel included. They’ll be much more likely to give if they know exactly where their money was used the first time. Plus, don’t forget the importance of saying thanks. Always stay on their radar.

Struggle #2—Sustainability

Just because you have a great mission doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be around for years. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s just that: reality. So Randolph said MV had to keep sustainability in mind with the future of their organization at stake.

“How do we create a sustainable business model when many of our clients are struggling financially?” his organization asked.

So MV had to get the right resources in the right place at the right time. Randolph said they relied on those strong relationships that they had built, and then built even more. Plus, they pooled all of their resources together to reduce their costs and offer even more resources.

*Note that Randolph uses the words “business model.” You’re probably thinking, “But, wait. Our organization isn’t a business!” Just remember, you are in sales.

Struggle #3—Not Enough Resources

It’s something that no organization is exempt from (unfortunately). When all of our money goes toward achieving our mission and we aren’t working for money, we don’t have all of the resources we need.

So MV got together with other organizations to pool their resources.

“If we can really focus on those key partnerships, it’s kind of like being invited over by a friend to meet somebody,” Randolph said. “It just makes that new relationship so much more feasible and natural.”

So ask yourself about your organization—who can you team up with to make things happen? If your organization is in it for the right reasons (achieving an overarching mission) seek out those organizations who have like-minded goals and reach out to them. There is strength in numbers.

What are some of the biggest problems that your organization has faced, and how has your nonprofit overcome them?


Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

June 18, 2013

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