Is Your Nonprofit Dead and You Just Don’t Know It Yet?

There are six main areas of operational competency for nonprofit organizations to maneuver and at any moment, your nonprofit could be at risk in any category. The six areas are:

  1. Program Management & Accountability
  2. Fundraising, Marketing & Communications
  3. Governance, Legal & Risk Management
  4. Accounting & Finance
  5. People & Organizational Development
  6. Technology & Business Systems

It’s important for your nonprofit to know that your funders, most especially larger ones, are concerned with all six areas of competency but issues surrounding accountability and transparency seem to be at the top of their list.

In other words, your funders are wondering if your nonprofit will do what you say you’re going to do… and how they will know for sure.

The problem for your nonprofit is that, if you are like most, you are operating in a very similar way that you always have. Sure, you have automated some processes but you are probably still doing the same things the same way, just faster.

Erosion is Silent

Over the past few years, the nonprofit ecosystem has morphed significantly and continues to change on a daily basis. The main problem is that most nonprofits are unconscious of the disruption taking place around them.

One of the most significant changes is occurring in nonprofit-funder relations. Most funders are no longer complacent with the old rules. That is, the funder was expected to write a check and the nonprofit was expected to deliver some kind of report once the project was completed.

Funders now want to be included in a more meaningful way. Many desire a closer relationship including ongoing updates, progress reporting against predetermined objectives, and real-time communications. In their words, accountability and transparency.

It will be difficult, if not impossible, for your nonprofit to effectively respond to the accountability and transparency challenge without first addressing this obvious question: Are you willing to make the changes necessary to include your funders in more of the process?

It may seem like a rhetorical question, but it is not. It is actually a life-or-death question. If you don’t like the first question, you will probably like this one even less: Is your nonprofit dead and you just don’t know it yet?

Who are some of the nonprofits effectively delivering on accountability and transparency?

If you are an experienced fundraising professional or nonprofit leader and want to understand how to get your funders more engaged, please schedule an appointment.


Marc is Co-Founder and Principal Advisor of The Center. For the previous 12 years, Marc served full-time as executive and practitioner in three significant yet very different nonprofits, overseeing extensive domestic and international operations.