Finding the right resources and guidance can be very overwhelming for owners of new or existing nonprofit organizations. Mistakes that you make now could cripple your chances of running a successful business.
Helping to make the world a better place involves a lot of hard work. From obtaining funding to managing your daily operations, every nonprofit organization (NPO) faces complex choices.
If you’re just starting out, you may not know how to make the right decisions or where to turn for help. To eliminate some of the stress, we’ve come up with a list of the best resources for managing your organization.
Using a combination of software, online tools, and funding solutions, you’ll have more time to focus on helping those in need.
Here are the top resources for helping nonprofits thrive:
1. Learn How to Incorporate a Nonprofit at USA.gov
The U.S. Government should be your first resource for starting a nonprofit, as they provide access to a wide range of information and guides. Visit USA.gov for a step-by-step guide on incorporating your organization.
You’ll find links to additional resources and helpful information. For example, you may want to know how to apply for tax-exempt status or what license and permits you need.
You can also learn more about the different types of nonprofits recognized by the IRS, such as:
The category you choose determines the tax benefits you’re eligible for. Take the time to review the information on this site when developing a business plan for your nonprofit.
2. Apply for Grants with the Grants.gov Mobile App
Individual donors from the private sector contribute the most to nonprofits, but the government is still a great source for funding. With the Grants.gov Mobile App, you can easily search for eligible Federal grants and submit your application.
The mobile app has a streamlined interface for exploring Federal grants. Search by keyword, agency, and other criteria. You can also track the status of your submission and review eligibility requirements.
Before downloading the app, you need to create an account at Grants.gov.
The site also provides access to the same features found on the app, but without the convenient interface. You can still search for grants and explore the various restrictions and policies.
3. Stay Informed with Nonprofit Technology Network
Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) provides access to a wealth of resources and educational courses for the nonprofit sector. It’s also the top source for discovering the latest technologies that assist nonprofit organizations.
Modern NPOs rely on technology for everything from fundraising to managing their daily operations.
NTEN ensures that you’re up to date on the newest software and online tools. You’ll also discover helpful articles. Learn how to get more out of the technologies that you depend on to increase donations or streamline your operations.
The online courses are also beneficial for nonprofit small business owners. Receive expert advice and strategies for everything from project management fundamentals to digital literacy and accessibility.
4. Follow the News with Nonprofit Quarterly
Nonprofit Quarterly is another great source for staying informed. However, instead of focusing on technology, the news site provides a broad look at the latest developments in the nonprofit sector.
It’s easy to become isolated from the outside world when focusing on outreach and other nonprofit activities. To keep up with the newest developments, you need to check the news occasionally. Nonprofit Quarterly makes this easier.
The website is a standard news site with the latest topics available on the home page. Follow the site on Facebook or Twitter to avoid missing out on interesting and helpful blog posts.
5. Receive Advice From the Fundraising Authority
If you ask most nonprofits, fundraising takes up more time compared to any other task. It’s also a necessary activity for a sustainable NPO.
The Fundraising Authority offers advice and suggestions for improving your fundraising practices.
Before exploring the articles, check out the beginner’s guide to fundraising. The site provides a simple guide that covers almost every aspect of fundraising.
For in-depth advice, sign up for a webinar on the site. The webinars aren’t free, but they offer invaluable fundraising tips. Discover the four pillars of rapid growth fundraising and other strategies for bringing in more donations.
If you prefer to listen to advice, the site also has a podcast. Subscribe to the Fundraising Authority Podcast on Stitcher Radio or iTunes for the latest strategies from fundraising experts.
6. Join the Largest Network of Nonprofits
The National Council of Nonprofits is a network of more than 25,000 organizations across the United States. The organization offers access to various resources through its website.
It’s one of the largest online collections of resources for nonprofits. You can learn more about fundraising strategies and regulations. Make sure that you don’t break any laws with your fundraising practices.
The site also provides tax tips for your organization and your donors. Explaining how tax write-offs work may help you bring in a few more donations.
The National Council of Nonprofits is one of the biggest advocates for nonprofit organizations. The company frequently works with governments and communities to ensure that nonprofits receive the support that they need.
7. Create Custom Graphics with Canva for Nonprofits
As with a traditional small business, a nonprofit organization benefits from online marketing. Creating a professional website, posting on social media, and running marketing campaigns helps you attract new donors. The hard part is generating content that stands out.
If you want to create high-quality marketing material, try Canva for Nonprofits.
Canva is a popular online graphic design platform. It allows anyone to quickly create professional-looking graphics for social media posts, presentations, and other marketing content.
With Canva for Nonprofits, you get access to additional resources compared to the free version of Canva. You can use team templates and brand kits to deliver a consistent message with your marketing material. You also gain access to a library with more than one million images.
Canva for Nonprofits helps you create more effective marketing content without the need to hire a professional graphic designer. You save time and money while improving your online marketing potential.
8. Manage Your Social Media Accounts with Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a complete social media management platform. It allows you to manage multiple social media accounts from a single dashboard.
Outreach is an important part of building a successful NPO. You need volunteers and donors to keep your organization running. Social media helps you reach them, but you need to remain consistent with your posting schedule.
Hootsuite simplifies your social media management. You manage everything from one place. You can quickly view a glimpse of your entire social media presence. The platform integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Hootsuite offers several plans, including a free plan with basic features. Even with the free plan, you can save time by scheduling your social media posts.
9. Use MailChimp to Grow Your Email Lists and Attract More Donors
Along with social media marketing, use email marketing to attract more donors. With automated messages and follow-up emails, you’ll lose fewer potential donors, such as those that are on the fence about donating.
MailChimp is one of the most used platforms for managing email marketing campaigns and email lists. As with Hootsuite, the company offers a free plan.
Using the platform, you can quickly create signup forms on your website. Use the forms to capture contact info and build lists of donors or volunteers.
If you upgrade to one of the paid plans, you’ll unlock a variety of other features, including landing pages and payment integration.
10. Learn More About Your Donor Base with QuestionPro
People love filling out online surveys. It’s also a useful method for gaining insight into people’s behavior and interests.
Use a free account at QuestionPro to start learning more about your donor base. You can use the insight to tailor your pitch to appeal to their interests.
After creating your free account, you can sign up for the nonprofit license. This gives you full access to the features offered by QuestionPro.
With an upgraded account, you can create unlimited surveys and receive unlimited responses. You’ll also get useful tools, such as email reminders, offline data collection, and the capability to offer survey rewards.
11. Attract Talent with LinkedIn for Nonprofits
LinkedIn is the largest network of professionals in the world. It’s a common tool for networking, helping you connect with people in your industry.
LinkedIn for Nonprofits expands the features offered with a standard LinkedIn profile. You can use your account to post open positions. Potential new hires can submit applications. Use this platform to find and manage candidates all in one place.
You’ll also receive access to various resources for marketing your organization to professionals around the world. With a LinkedIn for Nonprofits account, you can build more awareness about your nonprofit while attracting and recruiting candidates.
12. Seek Funding Opportunities Through the Nonprofit Finance Fund
Funding your NPO is likely one of the biggest challenges that you face in developing a sustainable small business. While government grants may get your nonprofit off the ground, you need donors for continued growth.
The Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) is dedicated to financially assisting nonprofits. The company provides financing, consulting, and referrals.
NFF has provided over $937 million in financing since 1980. They offer a wide range of financing options, including:
Along with financing, NFF offers expert consulting through workshops and seminars. Sign up for a workshop to learn how to improve your financial management skills.
13. Discover Marketing Strategies on the Storytelling Non-Profit
The Storytelling Non-Profit is a blog dedicated to helping nonprofits improve their online marketing strategies. Browse dozens of blog posts on the most effective techniques for attracting and retaining donors.
This website is incredibly useful for those with limited marketing experience. You can develop your marketing tactics and uncover new fundraising strategies.
You’ll also find various success stories, guest posts, and tips.
Most of the content is geared around storytelling. The author of the blog believes that storytelling is the key to bringing in more donors. The story that you present to potential donors helps sway their opinion of your mission.
Telling a compelling story isn’t easy, but the blog posts on the Storytelling Non-Profit should point you in the right direction.
14. Spread the Word with Google for Nonprofits
Almost everyone has a Google account. With Google for Nonprofits, you get additional tools for building more awareness about your organization and your mission.
Instead of the standard consumer Google products, you gain access to the following:
With G Suite for Nonprofits, you get the same secure business apps that Google sells to small business owners without having to pay a penny. You can access secure versions of Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, and Hangouts to streamline your business management practices.
Use Google Ad Grants to promote your nonprofit. This program helps you raise awareness and recruit volunteers using in-kind advertising on the Google Search platform.
Including utilizing Youtube..
A standard YouTube account provides a simple way to reach more people. The YouTube Nonprofit Program expands your reach with additional features, such as YouTube Giving. This allows you to accept donations directly from YouTube users without them needing to leave the site.
The Google Earth and Maps components of Google for Nonprofits provide multiple advantages. With Google Earth, you can showcase the impact of your organization using impressive data visualizations. Creating a visual map of how you’ve helped change a community gives you a powerful tool for getting more donors.
Google Maps makes it easier for people to locate your organization. You can even create a donor map to determine where most of your donors come from, helping you improve your fundraising efforts.
Now that you have a list of resources, it’s time to start implementing some of the solutions discussed. Use marketing tools to reach new donors and CRM solutions to retain existing ones. Along with software and online resources, make sure that you take advantage of government grants for additional funding.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.