Why Your Nonprofit Doesn’t Need to Compete with the Big Kids

The Karate Kid, Harry Potter, Remember the Titans and Seabiscuit are some of the most classic tales of our time, and they’re stories of underdogs. Stories of people who were told they couldn’t, but proved society wrong and came out victorious. No matter if they’re fact or fiction, these stories should inspire you as nonprofits. You’re the underdogs.

Even within the nonprofit sector, there are underdogs (and underdogs under those dogs). Then there are giant nonprofits like TOMs and charity:water that cast a shadow over many smaller nonprofits. And smaller nonprofits (especially just starting out) wonder how they’ll ever catch up or grow to that magnitude.

But that’s not the point. I’m as competitive as the next gal (no one is safe when Monopoly comes out of game cupboard), but nonprofits can’t live in constant competition of each other, because slowly that becomes your focus rather than your mission.

So rather than look at large, successful nonprofits as your competition, see them as inspiration and motivation.

January is all about challenging yourself and others to improve, right? I challenge you to go seek out five large nonprofits you think are successful, and then look for one thing from each you can apply to your own organization. Perhaps it’s their brand presence online, or how their website is structured or their donation page layout.

Now, write lessons down and figure out who you’d need to talk to within your organization to implement real change. It’s not enough for you alone to read this challenge (that won’t cause your nonprofit to grow). Now set the meeting. Get a group together and discuss these changes. They can start small—a facelift to your social media pages or a slight change in your marketing material voice to make it more relevant—and then build upon that growth.

Whatever the lesson, realize that we’re all in this together hoping to improve the world in a way we feel called.

Need a jumpstart to this challenge? Check out the article below for five lessons from the digital manager of charity:water and apply them to your nonprofit, no matter the size.

5 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Raise Money Like charity:water [JC Social Marketing]


Kathryn Pauley

Kathryn is a regular contributor to the Nonprofit Hub. Soon to be college graduate, she enjoys helping nonprofits understand better how to reach the millennial demographic—cause we are living in a millennial world, and Kathryn's a millennial girl. With experience leading the largest student-run charity event on her campus, she looks forward to bringing her unique perspective to the Hub team every day.

January 13, 2015

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