Nonprofits are getting down to business.
Recognizing that a growing number of donors and funding institutions want to be more involved in causes they support, and to see the impact their support is having, nonprofits are adopting strategies and methods from the business world.
Nonprofits are building measurable goals into their programs and operations, and developing metrics to track their impact and effectiveness.
And whether they address immediate needs or the underlying causes of social problems, nonprofits increasingly recognize they cannot go it alone.
So they are teaming up with partners ranging from donors and funding organizations to other nonprofits, businesses and government.
Thanks to a growing number of nonprofit programs offered by colleges and universities, and by nonprofit technical-assistance providers, more nonprofit executives now have professional training in nonprofit management or access to that training.
Nonprofits also are applying to their operations the kinds of tools that have been common in the business world, particularly technology, which nonprofits are using for tasks ranging from back-office work, fundraising and managing constituent relationships to marketing, advocacy, managing knowledge and measuring impact.
With the imminent prospect of a massive loss of executives because of burnout, retirement or other factors, nonprofits face the huge task of retaining current staff and developing and attracting new leaders.
And as social problems escalate, a continuing challenge for nonprofits is to strengthen their internal operations.
Recognizing the need for high-performing endowments, a growing number of nonprofits and foundations also are becoming more intentional and methodical in overseeing and setting policies for the investment of their assets.