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7 Traits That Growth Focused Nonprofits All Share

Related to Our Guest Blog Post, "4 Things High-Performing Nonprofits with Great Leaders Have in Common."

Nonprofit work has a lot of moving parts. Because of this, it is often difficult to hone in on what is making us successful and why. While organizations may differ in focus and form, a few core basics of a successful organization remain constant.

Great vision

A great nonprofit starts with an idea. Perhaps you want to reduce gun violence. Or maybe you want to help low income high school students fulfil their dreams of going to a great college. Organizations are built around ideas we can become passionate about. 

But vision is more than just cause; it also means you have a plan of execution and the momentum and organization to get things done.  Successful organizations, such as these, were able to transcend their own objectives and create an organizational model and development plan that allowed them to gain funds and put those dollars to work effectively.

A clear mission statement

Having passion and inspiration is one thing, but now you need to communicate your idea effectively to the outside world.  The best nonprofits can quickly and passionately communicate their mission to donors in words they can understand.

Codifying a mission statement is a great first step.  But a message is only good as the channels that can convey it. To make sure your message is heard, successful organizations make sure their nonprofit websites and social platforms are up-to-date, clear, and internally consistent.  By creating and maintaining an impactful digital presence, you can better champion a formalized mission.  

Engaged volunteers

Gilda’s Club of Westchester energized 60 teams and over 500 participants in participating in a stair climbing event at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. The success of this peer-to-peer fundraising event was of course due to their enthusiastic and vibrant volunteers who championed the event and recruited participants to flood the stairways. 

Volunteers and engaged staff are the lifeblood of any organization.  They are not only your allies, helping you do the best work; they are your advocates. But remember, your volunteers need leadership and direction. Clear communication channels between your organization and its volunteers will keep the excitement flowing and your base charged and ready.   

Here are a few tips for attracting volunteers.


Penang Adventist Hospital would be nothing without its network of partnerships. In order to promote healthy lifestyles in Malaysia through public events such as “Cycle for Hearts” and “Non-stop Zumba,” they must work collaboratively with regional governments, municipalities, and corporate sponsors. By forming beneficial and trusting relationships with local partners, they ensure that each event is a massive success.

Nonprofits, like other businesses, are not lone organisms. They function within communities. A lone wolf mentality will only get you so far. Reach out to your community. You may be surprised to find a few mutually beneficial relationships right around the corner.

Explore corporate philanthropy opportunities

Did you know corporations donate over $17 billion per year to nonprofit organizations? Make sure your organization is taking full advantage of this excellent source of potential funds!

Here are some distinct types of corporate philanthropy programs that are worth looking into:

  • Matching gift programs
  • Volunteer grant programs
  • Dollars for Doers
  • Community grants
  • Volunteer support programs 

Proven impact

At the end of the day, a nonprofit organization is about doing good and useful work. You’ve excited your donors with your passion and direction; and now it is time to get down to business. Donors want to see their dollars make a difference.  This is your time to shine.

Keep those communication channels open such as your website, newsletters, and social media so that you can demonstrate to your base that their dollars made a difference. 

However, many of your donors might not even know that their employers offer these types of corporate giving programs.

It is therefore up to your nonprofit to market and promote matching gifts, volunteer grants, and other types of corporate giving programs to your supporters.

You can, for instance:

  • Use social media to give quick tips about submitting matching gift requests.
  • Dedicate a newsletter to discussing corporate giving programs and their impact.
  • Highlight one of your biggest corporate partners on your website.
  • Feature matching gift information and volunteer grant instructions during the donation process or at events.
The options for promoting corporate giving programs are endless!

A great technology partner

Even the best organizations don’t do it alone.  Just like you depend on your volunteers and community partners, technology that is on your side makes your work streamlined and easier.  Fundraising technology and an effective CRM system give you the power to organize your development efforts and channel your energy efficiently.

Fundraising and development technology needs to be as versatile as your own organization. A donor management platform needs to adapt to the hardware you have at hand and also be available wherever your work takes you. 

Salsa CRM is compatible with all operating systems and is cloud-based so that you can always have access.  Our customer care team becomes part of your support team so that you can get back to the business of running your nonprofit for everyone’s benefit.

Topics: Strategy