Non-profit organizations offer a great service to our society, often providing resources and aid to community members in need. In order for a non-profit to maximize its ability to fulfill its mission, it’s important for the organization to maintain effective stewardship of its resources. This requires organized top-down management, which ensures that resources like volunteer time and donations are used to the greatest benefit of the organization.

1. Have Specific Tasks:

Many non-profits do not always use volunteer time to the greatest extent that they could. One way organizations can avoid wasting the volunteer time donated by community members is to have tasks planned out ahead of time for the volunteers to do such as folding pamphlets or organizing.

2. Train Volunteers Well:

Have a good volunteer training program. Give tours of the facility, talk about the mission and vision of the organization and give volunteers time to ask questions and learn.

3. Match Jobs and Skills:

Match volunteer jobs with a volunteer’s specific ability or desire. Someone who works well with people should interact with customers or clients, while someone less people-oriented would be better suited to something more behind the scenes.

4. Communicate with Volunteers:

Talk to volunteers to find out if they’re happy and engaged with what they’re doing or if they have any input. Just like with a for-profit business, it’s important to keep turnover low and avoid wasting time or money by having to train and replace people frequently.

5. Circulate Expiring Donations:

If the organization receives donations of food, the staff or volunteers should check the expiration dates when the food comes in as well as on a regular basis. For these kinds of donations, having a “first in, first out” system helps ensure that items get circulated to people who need them rather than sitting around waiting to expire.

6. Distribute Donations Quickly:

Organizations that receive donations of goods should have a distribution system to get the items either to clients or the correct department as soon as the goods arrive. Many items easily get lost or end up sitting in a storage facility instead of being put to use simply because of mismanagement or lack of organization.

7. Recruit Good Volunteers:

To recruit quality volunteers, non-profits should market to their “target markets” just like a for-profit business would. Instead of putting recruitment ads out randomly, it would benefit the organization if its leaders or volunteer coordinator spent some time considering the project or task for which the organization needs volunteers, what type of person is likely to be a good fit, and how to target areas likely to have people who fit those needs.

8. Form Partnerships:

To increase donations of a specific kind of item, many organizations successfully reach their donation goals by partnering with large community events or popular local stores and businesses. Food, clothing and toy drives work well, for example, when non-profits partner with grocery and department stores, and such stores are likely to participate because their involvement with local non-profits provides them with good publicity.

9. Advertise Fundraising Events:

Organizations holding fundraising events need to advertise in venues where they are likely to reach their targeted audience. It’s important that leaders in the organization consider how much they need to raise as a total goal as well as where to reach the people willing and able to donate to the organization who are also likely to come to the event.

In many ways, effectively managing the resources of a non-profit is similar to managing the resources of a for-profit business. Organizations enhance their ability to succeed and fulfill their mission and vision when they maximize the use of their resources and avoid waste. Additionally, marketing plays a key role for non-profits, ensuring that they reach the people, businesses and other organizations who can provide the money, time, goods and other resources a non-profit organization relies on to continually serve its community.

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