I’ve been deeply engaged in philanthropy for more than two decades. Friends and colleagues often ask me how I assess the effectiveness of a nonprofit. I share with them that I have the highest regard for organizations that have:
- Strong leadership, with a bold vision and a solid plan for implementation.
- A clear mission that spells out what the organization seeks to accomplish and why it’s important.
- Transparency regarding finances, governance, program evaluation, outcomes, and impact.
- Robust partnerships with donors, volunteers, other nonprofits, businesses, and government.
No matter the size or type of contribution, always take a humble approach to giving. Trusting a nonprofit’s leadership and contributing unrestricted dollars to support their whole mission is a sign of respect. While an organization’s budget may have line items for people and infrastructure separate from program costs, they can’t operate without both. Investing in leadership development — for both staff and board — makes an impact that helps sustain and grow the organization
Nonprofits and their donors become a team when they think of doing “the whole job” together
- How do you select the nonprofits that you get involved with?
- Do you feel like you’re playing on the same team with the nonprofits you support?
To learn more about nonprofits doing the whole job, listen to the audiobook chapter from Applied Wisdom for the Nonprofit Sector below.