PIMG conducted applied research on management practices employed by 43 nonprofits. The best practices - those most closely associated with success - might surprise you. They concern organizational strategy with several specific characteristics. These practices outshine most others in clearly distinguishing successful from unsuccessful nonprofits.

Restricted funding is a complex revenue source unique to the nonprofit sector. Many nonprofits receive restricted funding, and it brings challenges and risks. It can feel like a shell game. I offer 6 practical suggestions for playing - and winning - the restricted funding game.

McDonald's Corporation is prototypical of a business that scaled-up effectively. Great operating systems are part of this story. But CEO Ray Kroc's story gives some valuable lessons beyond that. He started out on a path toward disaster because he failed to do basic business planning and financial analysis. He succeeded after he recalibrated his business model and stuck to it. This story offers important lessons for nonprofit management and strategic decision-making.

The general perception of what’s “best” evolves over time. It’s also subject to varying opinions and interpretations. In some fields of work there’s no official endorsement of best practices, and a shortage of hard data to judge “bestness.” Nonprofit management is such a profession. While this leaves lots of space for creativity, it also carries a dark side: conventional wisdom can pump up practices that may not actually work.

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AuthorScott Schaffer
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The nonprofit world has, somewhat grudgingly, begun to embrace the use of data in decision-making. This is good, not because numbers are everything, but because informed decisions are usually better than off-the-cuff choices. The term “dashboard” has become commonplace in nonprofit board and management team meetings. But is any dashboard a good dashboard? Not necessarily.

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Jim Collins’ book Good to Great introduced a powerful concept in management management strategy. Named for the humble, nocturnal hedgehog, which has sustained as a species for millions of years, the book is as relevant as ever. The Hedgehog Concept can be valuable for nonprofits, and in this entry I talk about why.

Trump is our asteroid. The questions nonprofit leaders need to ask are: Can we adapt rapidly?  And, if not, will our organization become irrelevant?  Adaptation may require rapid deployment of new programs, immediate expansion or reallocation of resources, engagement with new partners, or mobilizing constituents in short order.  Resilient organizations will survive, and may even be stronger when this chapter ends.

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Many nonprofits struggle to break even, or face strict capacity limitations. The root of these problems is usually the soundness and health of the organization's business model.  The business model is a key to ensuring high performance in achieving mission and financial goals. Public Interest Management Group has released a new white paper that demystifies the business model and its key role in organizational strategy.

Now, more than ever, all nonprofits need to engage in advocacy as a strategy to serve their communities and support their missions. Contrary to a widely-held myth, 501(c)(3) organizations are not prohibited from advocacy. Further, nonprofits are vital intermediaries in the public policy process. Here I offer 4 practical ways mission-based organizations can incorporate advocacy into their work.

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AuthorScott Schaffer