When it comes to new nonprofits, we tend to focus first on funding streams. After all, "Where's the money coming from?!" is a valid question! While funding is—of course—crucial, there's another factor that's just as important for long-term success.
And that is a strong support system.
Why a Support System is Important for New Nonprofits
It's easy to get caught up in the nitty-gritty of funding and administration for your new nonprofit. But having a solid support system in place is the secret ingredient to long-term success. A reliable support system equips you with crucial guidance, resources, and connections. These can make all the difference in navigating the landscape of nonprofit management.
Here are four ways to establish a strong support network and set the foundation for a thriving and impactful organization.
As a Nonprofit Leader, You Need a Mentor
A mentor can be a game changer for you as a nonprofit leader. Experienced professionals can provide invaluable guidance and advice on running a successful nonprofit. They can offer insights into best practices for management, fundraising, and marketing. And they can connect you with other influential leaders in the nonprofit community. So how do you find a mentor? Start by reaching out to other nonprofit leaders in your community. Attend networking events and conferences, join nonprofit mentorship programs, and take part in local, regional, or national membership programs. Don't forget to take advantage of social media and join high-value discussion groups.
Once you've found your mentor, establish clear expectations and boundaries. Schedule regular meetings or check-ins to ensure you're getting the support and guidance you need for your nonprofit to flourish.
Build Your Nonprofit’s Network
Joining a network of other nonprofit leaders is a great way to access valuable resources and build meaningful connections. Targeted networks provide opportunities for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and support. (Sometimes, they also offer access to funding opportunities and potential partners!)
You can often find nonprofit networks in the same places you'd look for a mentor. (Birds of a feather flock together, as they say!)
Look for networks that align with your organization's goals and mission, and once you've identified one, make sure to be an active participant. Engage in discussions, share your own experiences, and learn from the expertise of others.
A robust network not only helps your nonprofit grow but also fosters a sense of community among like-minded individuals committed to making an impact on their community.
Retain Professional Services for Your Nonprofit
Investing in professional services such as legal and accounting grows your support system in an important way. Legal experts can help with registering your organization, drafting bylaws and policies, and ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations. Accountants, on the other hand, assist with financial planning, bookkeeping, and tax preparation.
Reach out to local firms specializing in nonprofit work, or seek recommendations from other nonprofit leaders in your community. Although professional services may come with a price tag, they're a necessary investment to ensure your organization is operating legally and effectively.
Remember, a well-run nonprofit is more likely to gain credibility and trust, attracting further support and resources down the road.
Finding Resources for Your New Nonprofit
Your community can be a treasure trove of supports for new nonprofits. Attend local nonprofit networking events, connect with other nonprofit leaders in your area, and contact your local Chamber of Commerce. You can also search online for nonprofit resources specific to your city or state.
Don't forget about regional, national, and online resources too! Platforms like the National Council of Nonprofits, Candid.org, and NPO Centric's membership program offer a wealth of information, best practices, research, and funding opportunities to aid your nonprofit's success.
Shore Up Your Nonprofit’s Support System This Year
A strong support system is the backbone of any successful nonprofit organization.
By seeking out mentors, building networks, investing in professional services, and finding the right resources, you'll lay the groundwork for a thriving nonprofit that makes a meaningful impact on your community and beyond.
NPO Centric’s online membership program focuses on content and advice for nonprofit professionals looking to make their organizations more successful, equitable, and sustainable. Join us today! >>