Today, for the fourth year in a row, Keith moderated VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads’ Annual Funders Forum. This event, which brings together funders from across Hampton Roads, always produces a variety of interesting takeaways. An underlying theme of the funders’ comments from this year’s forum was the importance of a nonprofit operating like a business. The following is their advice:
- It’s not enough for a nonprofit to simply do good; they must do it well. Nonprofits must operate like a business.
- In order to operate like a business, nonprofits need to shape their operations and their applications in terms of asking for an investment and be prepared to demonstrate the return on that investment.
- Foundations are not about simple charitable giving, but making sound business decisions. They want to be a part of something successful, so do your homework. Be sure to have a plan for sustainability—set your organization up with a plan for long-term success before seeking funding.
- A nonprofit should not consider itself at a disadvantage to receive foundation funding if they have reserves or an endowment in place. Funders universally agree that they want nonprofits to be financially sound. In fact, it boosts their confidence in your organization when you can demonstrate fiscal responsibility.