Organized Nonprofits

Check out the article Volunteers Give 10 Times More Than Other Americans, Survey Findswritten for The Chronicle of Philanthropy by Caroline Preston. There are a lot of little tidbits extracted from full study by Harris Interactive for the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund.   Two I find most interesting:

It’s probably obvious that volunteers give more money to the nonprofits they support than outsiders. And that’s also  likely an overlooked fact in the fund raising campaigns of (at least) new or small organizations.

But more interesting to me is this:

Nearly 60 percent of survey respondents said they think charities are too much like big businesses. Roughly one half said that charities are disorganized.

OK. I say, nonprofits have to run like business or else they’ll go out of business… and then who will carry on the mission?

However, that second part about charities being disorganized… that’s a problem on many levels.

Disorganized organizations waste resources, including not only time but also talents and treasures.

A current and effective set of bylaws and a policies and procedures manual (or heck, even just a notebook) will make the organization run more smoothly.  This will impress (and keep interested) your current board and volunteers and make it rewarding for new people to get involved.

When was the last time your organization looked at either of these documents?  Has any one not on the board ever asked to see them? How hard would it be for people in your office or on your board to access them in order to show them or to use them themselves?

The availability of your bylaws, at least, indicates some measure of organization. Post them on your website, then not only can your board use them easily, but your supporters can see how you spend your time and their money.  Make it easy enough to find them and to read them, and maybe some people will.

Write your bylaws in plain English. Check out my book, Fix My Bylaws, to find out how easy that can be.

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