Starting a Non-Profit? Here's what you should tackle first.

How many times today have you procrastinated? Are you procrastinating counting them up right now?

When it comes to your start-up non-profit, there seem to be a constant stream of to-dos. It’s tempting to dive into perfunctory tasks  - easy ones that promise immediate results – before grounding yourself with structural work that might seem methodical or overwhelming. Before you throw yourself into choosing the perfect font for your organization’s letterhead, make sure you’re not putting off building a solid foundation.

Move these tasks to the top of your agenda:

Create a Strategic Plan: Without a solid, workable plan in place, you’ll find yourself floundering. Your nonprofit won’t get far without a proper roadmap. Building a strategic plan will get your entire team on the same page, help you determine your starting point, and solidify your goals. 

With a strategic plan in place, you can be sure you’re taking the correct next steps to propel you in the right direction. As a bonus, a tangible plan lends legitimacy to your organization – always a major benefit for potential employees, donors, and clients.

Set Up Your Evaluation Infrastructure: Now that you’ve got a plan in place, you need to determine how you’ll measure success. How will you gauge your results, and what do you plan to do with them? Make sure you understand how to gather real, concrete data and have measurable goals. You’ll also need a system for organizing all of your information. Welcome to the super and exciting world of spreadsheets! We’ve been expecting you.

 

Without this infrastructure in place, your nonprofit results may end up jumbled, inconsistently gathered, or just improperly filed, the equivalent of a box of crumpled receipts you dump in front of your accountant the day before taxes are due.

Plan Development Activities: Your nonprofit doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If you ultimately hope to make a change, you have to reach out to your network and fundraise. This might seem daunting, as it’s more nebulous than, say, collecting data, but it’s still vitally important if you want to keep your organization afloat.

We know, you didn’t get into this nonprofit to make money, but don’t start your business without calculating costs, looking into creative ways to fundraise and garner attention, and investigating grants.

Don’t procrastinate when it comes to these important aspects of your organization. Concentrate on getting these projects under control before moving on to other duties. If you need assistance, we at Mockingbird Analytics are here to help. And hey, we’ll even help you pick a font. Spoiler alert: it won’t be Comic Sans.