22 Jul 2019

Solving the Nonprofit Puzzle

Serving as a nonprofit leader can make you feel as if you need superpowers to solve all of the puzzles that come your way. It is both difficult and fulfilling work. From needed resources, donor and volunteer dynamics, to fundraising, it can be an uphill battle in the quest to complete all the goals set out for your organization.  There are ways that you, as the leader, can create an environment that fosters good communication, teamwork and a powerful force towards concurring any obstacles in your way


These 5 tips will help you create a work environment that makes solving the puzzle look easy.


  1. Be stunning! Grab the attention of your supporters! Your audience needs to know the what and the why of your mission.  Many people in your community share a passion for what your nonprofit organization stands for, they just need a clear path to their role in your day-to-day mission.  Your task is to help them see their role and see how stunning it can be.  This can be done though traditional advertising such as local papers and community briefs, as well as social media and digital advertising. But don’t forget about the art of relationship building. Every good advertising campaign must be followed by an even better relationship with the “face” of the organization.


  1. Solve the puzzle. It’s comforting to know that there is someone else out there that wants to be a part of your movement.  Now, where do you put them and where do they fit?  This all starts with listening. This lengthy process is worth the work.  When a supporter feels that they are being listened to, and their time and efforts are serving their passion as well as the organization’s goals, the puzzle falls into place. A healthy relationship with your board members will entice contributions of ideas, taking a stand, and overcoming obstacles.


  1. Stick with the superheroes. If you’ve heard of the Avengers, you know they are a team.  Just like the Avengers, you cannot do everything on your own.  You need a team!  You’ve already worked to solve the puzzle of finding those that share your passion.  Now use them and grow them!  But don’t burn them out.  Be respectful of their personal time and obligations as well as your own, so you can build sustainable supporters that grow your mission.  Scarlet Witch wasn’t an original Avenger but look how that turned out.  She is amazing!  Build your superhero team with intention, and see your organization take off.


  1. Even superheroes take off their capes. Somedays you may feel like you should have a cape to hang when you get home from all your nonprofit achievement, other days, not so much. It is hard to accept the cold fact that mistakes do happen.  Supporters care more about the way you handle errors from others and yourself.  I am positive that Iron Man takes a deep breath before correcting young Spider-Man for throwing an unfortunate web.  Remind yourself that everything can be used as a learning tool and focus on how to correct it.


  1. Enjoy it! If the thought of your nonprofit organization makes you cringe and burrow deeper under the covers, it is time for a change.  This means you need to re-access your workload, your team, or your overall mood.  Zoom out and look at your position from the outside. This may mean you need to take a day to organize your desk, take a much needed break, and remember why you love what you do so much.


At the end of the day, have fun, keep moving forward, and etch away at the puzzle in front of you. Optimism and hard work are contagious and stimulate growth.  By putting these tips to use, you will build your confidence and create the environment you want to work in.


We believe in nonprofit leaders, and we believe in you.

For more information on leadership techniques, fundraising material, or how to tell your story, reach out at www.visaggio.co.



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