The United States would churn to a stop without the work of third sector nonprofit, organizations. The dedicated staff and volunteers of these organizations feed the hungry, provide medical and social services. They also inspire us by teaching, preserving our environment and stimulating our humanity with the culture and arts. Collectively, the the third sector employs 7% of working Americans and and contributed $1.1 Trillion dollars in earned revenues.
The vast majority of nonprofit organizations are small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The reality of meeting the mission on a shoestring budget is that in many nonprofits, every single employee, including the leadership team, must roll up their sleeves and focus on mission fulfillment. Those from the corporate world would be hard pressed to understand how vital this focus on service delivery is to the stakeholders of these impactful organizations. But this deep focus on mission and impact comes at a price. For smaller nonprofit organizations, there is not the human capacity to perform the kinds of strategic and operational analyses and planning that will support growth, enhance financial performance and expand impact. Yet the economic realities and stakeholder expectations demand those very outcomes.
This creates a double bind. Like all businesses, the cycle of continuous improvement is essential for meeting emerging unmet needs and remaining financially viable but smaller organizations do not have the capacity to invest in these initiatives. Often there is an emphasis on merging to gain an economy of scale. But bigger is not always better. The targeted focus of these smaller nonprofits add to the richness and diversity of experience. Here employees, donors and volunteers come together in vital and active ways to address social and economic injustice, conserve our natural resources and infuse our lives with arts and culture.
This is where I come in. I have always been inspired by the work of small and medium sized organizations. My passion is to bring the tools of business analysis, strategic and operational planning and focused communications to these impactful small and medium sized organizations. For some, a one time project of a few hours will be enough to do a deep review of outcomes and financials and run a mission money matrix that support decision making, for others it may be a longer term project like the identification of key performance indicators, the development of a tracking system and the design of communications that let everyone from the front line staff, leadership team, board members and funders better understand the impact and their role in achieving that impact.
If you are interested in finding out how we can partner to enhance the impact of your organization, please reach out. For more information on the third sector, check out this report from Independent Sector.