There’s a big hidden cost that nonprofits often ignore: the opportunity cost of decisions. Failure to consider this can result in poor decisions and/or allocation of resources. Fortunately, there are clear methods to incorporate opportunity cost into strategic decision-making and planning.

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.

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.

In partnership with the Nonprofit Association of Oregon, PIMG completed a pilot study of the new Success Factor Analysis methodology for assessing nonprofit organizations. Participating nonprofits found the process valuable in crafting strategies for improvement. Further, the data collected in the project sheds new light on which practices are and are not associated with organizational success.

PIMG client Washington Water Trust is an organization that uses creative approaches to preserve streamflow, restore habitat and fight back against drought conditions. The nonprofit's leadership has recognized a need to grow to meet needs that are expected to increase in the years and decades ahead. Public Interest Management Group worked with the Water Trust to develop a business plan for growth through the sizzling summer—a backdrop that could not have been more dramatic. 

New workshops explore the economics of nonprofit organizations and several practical techniques for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of business models. Nonprofit business models are more complex than those of for-profits. In our sector the formula can be multi-faceted, with some services subsidizing others by design. Nonprofits need to be intentional and shrewd about how the model is assembled.

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Nonprofit leaders are bombarded with information throughout each day.  Some of it is important, some is interesting, and a lot is neither.  Information is only as good as what we get from it.  Unfortunately, a lot of what we get is noise.  The problem is that the more background noise, the harder it is to hear the important idea or the cry for help. The key is to identify three-dimensional metrics that help tell us the real story about the organization and where you’re headed. 

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AuthorScott Schaffer

New analysis by Public Interest Management Group offers insights—and a few surprises—on what nonprofits really need to succeed.  Based on data from over forty nonprofits, this study explores 28 organizational facets correlated to overall success, including organizational strategy, culture, operations and overall business model.   

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Nonprofit leaders have expressed frustrations about strategic planning, for example that it is often time-consuming, overly-vague, and quickly out-of-date. While newer techniques address some of these concerns, the real issue is too much time spent on strategic planning, and too little (or no) time spent on business planning.

Posted
AuthorScott Schaffer