Posts Tagged "study successful nonprofits"

Learn from existing nonprofits

Posted by on Jun 26, 2013 in grant writing, non profit organization, social entrepreneurship | 0 comments

A couple posts ago, I listed eight suggestions for those wanting to change careers to start a project to help others. Although I strongly encourage people to consider this move, being careful is so important. Last week, I briefly discussed the first two suggestions, 1. Proceed carefully and slowly – don’t be in a rush, and 2. Learn all you can – fully understand the problem.

I would now like to discuss the next two items on that list.

3. Study existing nonprofits delivering similar services.

What an opportunity we have to benefit from the work of existing nonprofits. They are out there doing their important work and providing valuable data for us to observe and analyze. If one of their programs is similar to our planned program, to a certain extent, they may be doing market research for us. We might see what works well, and maybe even think of a new idea to add to our innovative idea.

If a project similar to ours is struggling, of course, this is also important to us. Might that be a reflection of what lies ahead for us?

We might first study nonprofits within our community and then use the Internet to collect information on nonprofits in other areas of the nation or even world. Some nonprofit web sites won’t provide all of the details we seek, in which case phone calls to the nonprofits might be justified. My students have found nonprofits to be friendly and willing to try to answer questions.

4. If possible, volunteer with a successful nonprofit doing work similar to your planned project.

This is a wild idea, one that brings a smile to my face. How valuable might this experience be, to actually “taste” this work before we start our project? Even if your volunteer work doesn’t allow you to work on a project like the one you want to start, getting a feel for work within a nonprofit will be valuable.

This idea will work best if you are geographically close to the existing nonprofit. Being able to be physically present to do this volunteer work is the ideal, but even if you have to work from a distance, there could be value.

 What skill do you have that the existing nonprofit might be interested in? Maybe there is something you are able to do within their organization without a special skill, but a skill would help. Grant proposal writing is an example of a skill that you could apply even if you are physically located on the other side of the world.


Existing nonprofits are like data-banks with valuable information. We should utilize these resources as we prepare our move to start our social entrepreneurship project.

Thank you for reading my small blog.

Best wishes. – Keith

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An important step in planning your nonprofit

Posted by on Apr 29, 2012 in non profit organization | 0 comments

An important step in planning your nonprofit

Innovation for ChangeI am interested in facilitating people who want to start a nonprofit to be successful in doing this. In an earlier post, I encouraged people to volunteer for maybe two years at a nonprofit similar to the one they want to start.

Another valuable activity is to study some of the successful nonprofits similar to the type of nonprofit you want to start. This was an assignment in a social entrepreneurship course I teach, and the profiles of nonprofits students produced were impressive.

So I want to encourage those of you who have a dream of starting a nonprofit to do this. Web sites of many nonprofits are impressive, with a storehouse of useful information.

In case anyone may be interested in pursuing this on your own, I asked my students to write about the following for nonprofits they selected to profile.

– Major programs
– Programs closest to my interests
– Data documenting success of programs closest to my interests
– My innovative ideas to improve existing programs
– My innovative ideas for different programs within this nonprofit

If you have the passion to help people in need by someday starting your own nonprofit, I encourage you to begin the systematic process of studying successful nonprofits in your state and across the nation.

Thank you for reading my small blog.

Best wishes. – Keith

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