Non-profit organizations of all types typically have two advantages over for-profit competitors: trust and data.
NPOs are trusted more than businesses quite often. The trust comes from being a mission-focused organization as well as knowing that profits are reinvested to support the mission rather than paid out to owners or shareholders.
Many organizations also have a tremendous amount of data about their market already on hand. You know who the big givers are, you know who is in your profession, you know who comes to more meetings and events than others. This data is priceless.
Businesses would give a lot to have the same advantages.
Use the trust you have been given to offer value to your members, volunteers, donors, and others. Use that data to make highly relevant offers and communications to these same people.
Fulfilling your mission as an NPO doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat. Embrace your advantages! Put them to work. You owe it to your mission and your constituents.
David, I would add a third: volunteerism. NPOs of all stripes rely on volunteers to be successful. So it is incumbent upon orgpreneurs to ensure that they are managing this asset appropriately.
Author of Put Your Data to Work: 52 Tips and Techniques for Effectively Managing Your Database, published by ASAE
That is an important distinction Wes. Thanks for raising it.
It has a direct relationship to trust and data. Volunteers will forgive a bit of wasted money but if you waste their time, look out! And, as I know from your work, tracking the data about volunteer activities is critical for knowing who your highly engaged constituents actually are, beyond what you witness personally.