Forbes: Eight Agile Practices For-Profit Businesses Can Teach Nonprofits

By Madison Serrano

Nonprofits tend to think of themselves as completely different from any business in the for-profit arena, as the goals of both types of companies are inherently different. While a for-profit business seeks to create value for the owner or shareholders, a nonprofit is primarily concerned with giving back to the community.

Despite these differences in goals, for-profits and nonprofits can learn a bit from each other. For-profit organizations, for example, demonstrate several agile practices that can benefit a nonprofit in many ways. To explore these practices, eight associates of Forbes Nonprofit Council delve into what for-profits do that nonprofits can learn from to be more successful.

Forbes Nonprofit Council members consider for-profit practices the nonprofit industry could adopt.

1. Communicating Face To Face

Emails, texts and remote working have made it very easy to avoid having face-to-face conversations. We have found that the level of understanding and engagement among the team and our partners is significantly higher when people are meeting face to face, whether that is in the same room or virtually via a video conference interface. All of our remote meetings are done on camera when possible now. - Kym Frank, Geopath

2. Adjusting Goals Quarterly

Nonprofits typically create annual budgets and strategic plans. However, because opportunities may arise unexpectedly throughout the year, it would be beneficial for organizational leadership to review progress toward goals and ensure results are occurring as planned. Rigidity regarding goals can be detrimental. Strategic planning must continue to occur throughout the year. - Elizabeth Kumbhari, Cultural Vistas, Inc.

3. Responding Quickly

Deeply layered nonprofit organizations where committees have to meet for months before moving forward cannot respond quickly enough to important opportunities and needs in today's world. Response time is critical. Nonprofits should keep their teams lean and empower them to make quick, strategic decisions. - Howard Schiffer, Vitamin Angels

4. Focusing On The Individual

Relationship building between people and individuals is a core agile practice. Nonprofits serve people working through devastating inequality and loss. While tech may rapidly evolve, the individual is powerful in communicating the right information to the right people at the right time. - KellyAnn Romanych, Veterans Legal Institute

5. Tracking Performance

Track the performance of every project, task and campaign to ensure you are optimizing what you do with the donations you receive. We have to be accountable for what we receive. Metrics and analytics can be used to ensure we are getting the most return for those donations. - Gloria Horsley, Open to Hope

6. Being Proactive In Search For Talent

Competition for top-tier talent is always fierce, but many nonprofits have been slow to use the kind of proactive approach that for-profit companies use. Adopt a more proactive approach to recruit proven professionals whose talents fit your specific needs rather than posting positions and waiting for applications. It saves time and produces better hires for the organization. - Jose Luis Castro, Vital Strategies

7. Using Dashboards

Monthly reports from every department on every significant goal can become cumbersome and time-consuming to review. We use a simple one-page, color-coded dashboard to show if we hit our targets. These goals are measurable and tied to our strategic plan, as well as the performance appraisals of myself and my leadership team. This keeps everyone on task and the board informed at a glance. - Kimberly Lewis, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Inc.

8. Focusing On The Good, Not The Perfect

Charities sometimes wait too long to get started when information isn't perfect. Team members may think, “We only have 100 email addresses, but want 10,000 so we should wait to send any communications.” Focus on the 100 email contacts that you have. Let them know they are critically important, thank them and build those relationships. You can also work in parallel to enhance your contact list. Get started now! - Patrick Coleman, GiveCentral

View the original article on Forbes here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesnonprofitcouncil/2019/12/06/eight-agile-practices-nonprofits-can-learn-from-for-profit-businesses/#730605b6db06  

UP