Exploding the Business Models of Nonprofits

“We got it that cities that rely on old-line manufacturing have to change or die.  That for-profit business models have to change or collapse.  Now, it’s time to explode the business models of nonprofits in order to adapt to changing markets and the interests of new generations,” according to Clara Miller, Founder and CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund.


Miller founded NFF 25 years ago to help nonprofits establish strong financial health in order to fulfill their missions.  In the current economic climate, NFF is gaining popularity and momentum among funders as well as nonprofits seeking more viable financial solutions.


NFF is facilitating financial innovation. For some organizations, that can mean more virtual operations.  “The idea that every symphony orchestra or theater or school should have the same business model is obsolete,” explains Miller.  To help invent and promote new financial models, NFF partnered with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation on Leading for the Future.  An example of a new model is Misnomer Dance Theater that builds robust audiences through web media, and then brings their performances wherever audiences have formed.  Result: full houses, broader reach to more diverse audiences, lower fixed costs.


NFF is also helping to influence funders and nonprofit boards by showing the importance of investing in strong and effective organizational infrastructures, including for fundraising and program development and implementation.


The good news from this bad economy is that we no longer have to suffer the fools who say, “if it ain’t broke…”  It’s finally time to blow up models that don’t work, build sleek, effective new business models to get us through these hard times, and position ourselves for a new era of prosperity.


photo: Clara Miller, Founder and CEO, NFF