8 Surprising Ways to Manage Your Nonprofit Efficiently


Nonprofit management is challenging even under the best circumstances, but these days nonprofits are tasked with doing more with less. This makes efficiency the name of the game. Here are eight surprising ways to manage your nonprofit efficiently.

1. Cross-Train Your Staff
Lost time is lost money, but employees are human, and life can sometimes get in the way of work. Instead of expecting your employees never to be sick, take a vacation or be side-tracked by a suddenly important project, make sure that your entire staff is cross-trained. This can help keep projects on time and track when a whole team can pull together as needed.

2. Use Small Changes to Get Big Effects
Find out where your staff is wasting their time. Is the travel form archaic and takes forever to fill out? Is your accounting staff wasting time with an out of date system that then requires them to do extra work? Making small updates and lead to exponential time saved.

3. Keep Other Departments in the Loop
When all departments know what’s going on efficiency can be improved. For instance, is a client is coming in for therapy, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t also have an appointment for job training. This serves your constituents better and keeps your organization working as a team.

4. Keep Leadership Focused
Tenor and tone of an organization come from the top down, so if leadership seems harried and overworked, that sense will trickle down to other employees. When leadership stays positive, on-message and is open to working together, the rest of the team will be too.

5. Be Data Driven
It’s hard to know where the time goes when you don’t keep track of it. Managing leadership and staff time properly by making reasonable time management expectations known and keeping meetings goal-oriented and focused can all help a nonprofit be more efficient. If teams have trouble completing tasks on time and feel overworked, try a time-management tracking system to help them figure out where their time is going.

6. Say No to Good Ideas
Team members who work for a nonprofit are often creative, idea-driven individuals. This does not make for masters of efficiency, however. Saying no to good ideas can seem harsh, but there are a time and a place for brainstorming new programs and approaches, and we bet it isn’t in the weekly team meeting. Make a place for these kinds of ideas, but be sure to keep brainstorming confined to specific sessions.

7. Set Goals
You’ll never know if you’re done unless you know where you’re going. Setting goals helps keep the team focused and moving in the right direction.

8. Mission Focused
Your mission should be at the forefront of all the work you do. It should be something that all staff can define in eight words or less, and it can help you improve efficiency by helping you maintain your priorities.