A new report by the National Council of Nonprofits provides more data about the nonprofit financial crisis, showing sharp declines from all sources, including government, corporations, foundations, and individuals, and fees for services faltering as well. Worst of all, these funding challenges occur just when communities are in greater need of nonprofit services, as people are losing jobs, homes, healthcare benefits, and credit, and various public services, including education, are being cut.
Nonprofit boards have the authority, power, and legal and fiduciary responsibility to create solutions, in partnership with the nonprofit CEOs that they hire. How can nonprofit boards improve themselves to face their difficult but essential challenges of serving our communities? Of course, in order to build and achieve a successful future, a board needs to build itself with the right people–a topic I have addressed previously.
Some of the best board members I have placed or worked with have been key revenue problem-solvers. For example, the global pricing strategist for a major consulting firm pulled a nonprofit (the local chapter of a national blood services organization) out of the red by helping them revise their pricing strategy, thereby shifting the organization into financial health.
Here are additional ways that board members play vital roles in advancing the revenues of nonprofits: public relations people helping to articulate the case for the organization and train and coach the board and staff in making the case; people with relationships with key government officials helping to build support; and people with business connections helping to leverage corporate partnerships.
For nonprofits, revenue models involve a combination of government, philanthropy–from corporations, foundations, and individuals, and fees for services. For people who serve on nonprofit boards and are committed to the missions and communities they serve, there are solutions.