May 21, 2014
The concept of competition may seem better suited for a for-profit business than a nonprofit organization. While competition in the business field is often viewed as a race to use the most advanced technology and employ especially qualified staff to improve revenue, there are some methods that nonprofits can use to enhance their own operations. Competitive hiring practices such as exciting jobs and sustainable career paths instead of high salaries, can help a charitable organization continue to grow. Developing competition during fundraising drives can also provide extra motivation. While employees at nonprofits are dedicated to the mission of their organization, a good-natured contest to see who can raise the most money can not only add a new dimension of encouragement, but can also lead to better results.
Nonprofit Information points out that charitable organizations compete against each other for a variety of limited resources – government and corporate grants, volunteer hours, money from individual donors and more. Because these items are all scarce, nonprofits need to focus on organizing internal resources to boost performance.
Set lofty goals and encourage staff members
One way nonprofits can encourage healthy competition is by setting internal goals. While it's easy enough to have a contest to see who can get the most donations during a specific fundraising program, there are other metrics that can encourage employees and improve the organization's efficiency. For example, co-workers can apply those same simple competitive principles to signing up volunteers and distributing information about their organization.
There's another element of competition that is less understood and still developing, but extremely important. Fast Company recently highlighted the growing influence of trustworthiness on the operations of for-profit businesses, and how developing that trust is a long-term business booster. The same principle easily applies to nonprofits, where supporters are donating their funds not to receive goods, but to improve the local, national and global communities. Nonprofits should focus on trust by improving their transparency, allowing donors to see exactly where money goes and how operating budgets are structured.
Trustworthiness may turn into a competition with other nonprofits as well. The organizations that can provide the most information and show that they're doing the most good will likely win that contest.
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