How to Run a Nonprofit Successfully | 5 Best Practices

The true test of a healthy economy and marketplace is the vibrancy and growth of nonprofits in the community. These are the organizations that serve with big hearts, open arms, and a mission for impact in changing lives.

Make the world a better place. 

These are the leaders, the change-agents, and the volunteers who go above and beyond to create deep social impact to make our world a better place.

 Sadly, many nonprofits struggle to gain traction, operate effectively, and mimic the rigor and discipline found in the for-profit world. These means that we have empowered individuals who want to do good, but often don't know how to execute that good most effectively.

#1 Build a mobile-friendly website.

Your organization must have a beautiful website that is easy to navigate, attractive to the eye, and functional on a mobile phone or tablet.

80 percent of internet users own a smartphone and 48 percent of consumers start mobile research with a search engine, while 33 percent go directly to the site.

If your site is difficult to use, people will bounce off the site within seconds. This means that you lose potential supporters and donors.

Building a website doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars or require a marketing agency. You can build one yourself using Wix, Squarespace, or Wordpress. All of the designs are automatically optimized for mobile-usage, with easy drag & drop interfaces. If you don't want to build the site yourself, hire an intern from your local university. A decent website can be put together in a couple of hours.

Also, make sure it's easy for donors to give you money. Include call-to-actions (CTAs) that are fast and simple ways to donate money via bank, credit card, or PayPal.

#2 Create your social media identity.

Whether you like social media or not, you need to use it.

That means Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Medium, and any other platform. You don't have to use every platform at once, but you should pick two to three channels and begin focus there. Add the others as you gain proficiency on each platform. Your presence will begin to build in each space.  

Remember, users spend an average of 69 percent of their media time on smartphones. Not only that, apps account for 89 percent of mobile media time

As you are thinking of what your online presence will be, make sure to choose a strategy that is true to you, honest to your brand, and something you are comfortable with. Yes, be sure to challenge yourself, but pick a platform that you feel you can naturally build relationships with others there. If that means Instagram Stories, then do it. Or Tweeting 10x a day, go for it. Whatever it is, start building your social media identity now.

#3 Register with Guidestar and earn badges.

This is often overlooked but can be paramount to building your nonprofit brand and credibility. GuideStar USA, Inc. is an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies. In 2016, its database provided information on 2.5 million organizations. In essence, it's a platform to list your nonprofit information and for others (read: donors) check up on you.

The best part about GuideStar is that it's free and easy. Spend two to three hours inputting information about your organization including mission statements, Board of Directors, etc., and you earn badges. The badges that you earn can be put onto your website and show that you are in the top 5 percent or 1 percent of nonprofits that disclose this information.

It's a differentiator, and a way to get more donations.

#4 Sign up with Amazon Smile for free donations

Every nonprofit I have ever worked with is always looking for more donations. And that's OK, it's part of the nonprofit life. Amazon offers a service called Amazon Smile, which allows Amazon to donate 0.5 percent of the price for eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of the customer's choice. It's the same products, same prices, same service. 

This means that when your donor needs to buy something on Amazon, 0.5 percent of their purchase will be donated to your organization from Amazon. It's a win-win.

#5 File with TechSoup for discounted benefits.

This is one of the best tools you'll find to help your nonprofit. TechSoup is a nonprofit international network of non-governmental organizations that provides technical support and technological tools to other nonprofits. By registering and signing up with this organization, you immediately become eligible for free or significantly discounted services. 

Here are some of the organizations you get discounted prices from:

-Microsoft (Office Suite)

-Intui (Quickbooks)

-Dell (laptops, computers)

-Adobe (Creative, Photoshop, Acrobat Pro

-Symantec (Norton Security)

-Amazon (AWS credits)

-Google (G Suite for nonprofits, Ad Grants, YouTube nonprofit program)

This is only a partial list of the terrific products and brands available with TechSoup.

It's free or highly discounted products. All you have to do is sign up.

What now? Get started.

Running a nonprofit can be difficult, tiring, and thankless work. But you are doing something that matters and will impact generations to come.

Stay strong, be focused, and surround yourself with people who will support your mission and cause.

You can do this. These 5 best practices will help.