How can nonprofits adjust their approach to management?

November 6, 2014

How can nonprofits adjust their approach to management?

A clear management strategy is essential to the success of a nonprofit organization's mission. Many foundations and charities turn to their board of directors for guidance, but there are several other ways to develop effective approaches to operating a nonprofit group.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently wrote about Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit organization that Bain & Company helped establish. Bain is widely renowned as a consulting firm that helps businesses utilize tools and strategies to empower management. In fact, Bain releases reports on a biannual basis to help guide companies through the latest management trends. Bridgespan Group aims to provide a similar service to organizations in the philanthropic world.

Taking an analytical approach to management strategy
The Bridgespan Group survey will have five primary focal points that will guide nonprofit leaders through the decision-making process for tools and trends. The Chronicle indicated some of the areas will include ways to clarify goals by looking at a variety of potential circumstances that may challenge leadership. At the same time, the report will look at how nonprofits can take a theoretical approach to change. Another key function will be to learn how to effectively get feedback from various stakeholders as well as looking at program performance.

The report will be conducted by both Bridgespan Group and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and it will look into the nonprofit community's perspective through surveys. Not only is it a chance to see what tools and strategies are working, but also an opportunity to recognize what isn't as helpful.

Change is often a necessary risk
When nonprofits reach a certain point in leadership issues, they often have no choice but to reevaluate their management styles and adopt a new approach. Nonprofit Quarterly highlighted the cases of two arts organizations and the issues they've had in management. First, the San Diego Opera nearly became a memory in the Southern California fine arts community. Many of the organization's artistic leaders left, in addition to the president of the board and several trustees.

Meanwhile, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami went through a tumultuous several months over the summer, during which the former board of directors decided to create a new organization called the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami. The new leadership at MOCA North Miami is working with a new board that was appointed by the city.

Embracing change in nonprofits can be a precarious act, but it often results in necessary outcomes that benefit the organization in the long run. As The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Bridgespan Group attempt to assist nonprofits in their search for better management, there will always be a period of trial and error that these groups need to face.

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