Founders Edition: Building Bridges

The most effective nonprofit founders are “in touch” with the community their organization serves. They aren’t afraid to make speeches, meet and greet, network, and be visible in and to the community. A good nonprofit leader isn’t going to get very far if they aren’t interacting with the community they serve.

Becoming a founder of any business can be hard. Getting the right support to stay the course is important for the longevity of any nonprofit organization or business. Relationship building and stakeholder management are vital aspects of a nonprofit organization’s efforts to create social change. Working with a variety of internal and external stakeholders is done on a regular basis. For example, certain nonprofits may rely upon hospitals or shelters as facilities for their programs, while others may turn to young people in their neighborhoods as key participants in a grassroots, community-organizing campaign

The modern nonprofit leader will demonstrate a melding of private sector business acumen and traditional nonprofit attributes such as that with community engagement. Even more, nonprofits must engage with an expansive set of stakeholders, all of whom are seeking different relationships and connections with the nonprofit: individuals, foundations, and corporates, the local government entities, various boards/committees, volunteers, and others as its key stakeholders.

Nonprofit leaders often have to sell, be influencers, advocates and activist. They could be negotiating or making case for everything from event space, grants, major gifts, to cheaper office rent. This is why it’s key that they’re effective communicators. As a nonprofit leader you must learn to effectively navigate and build consensus amongst multiple and diverse stakeholders.

Great nonprofit leaders must share their vision, and put stock in the opinions of team members at all levels. Their decision-making is collaborative. They encourage people to have their own opinions and share them. The most successful modern nonprofit founders genuinely care about their people. They take personal responsibility for making the team feel fulfilled, productive, and motivated.

What does being a nonprofit leader mean to you and how are you leading as a founder?

Thanks for reading! Have questions or comments? Email us at education@theempowermentcleveland.com.

Published by The Empowerment Center LLC

We are a business empowerment consulting firm located in Cleveland, Ohio. We provide economic empowerment services to nonprofit and public sector businesses to include grant writing, development and consulting.

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