Get more from your nonprofit’s program budget

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An image of a business training session, where a man stands at the head of a classroom in front of a projector speaking to a room full of individual's sitting in chairs.

Is your nonprofit association offering enough (or the right) programs to keep members active and engaged? New programs require time, effort and money. So when you commit to developing one, you want to get the biggest bang for your buck. Here are some simple dos and don’ts:

DO consult your members.

Through focus groups, surveys and informal conversations, gather information about issues your membership is facing. Note gaps between your current program offerings and members’ wants and needs.

DON’T support foregone conclusions.

Spinning member feedback to match what you think your organization needs is a big mistake.

DO target specific outcomes.

Identify the intended outcomes of proposed programs and attach to them strategic, realistic and timely goals.

DON’T lose focus.

Consider only program ideas that will directly contribute to your association’s mission, vision and overall goals.

DO protect your creation.

If your new program is unique, protect it with appropriate trademarks, service marks, copyrights, and patents.

DON’T go it alone.

Whenever possible, share expenses and resources by partnering with other organizations. Alliances can lend depth, breadth and impact to programs.

DO keep your promises.

Deliver new programs on time and on target for the greatest impact.

DON’T overspend.

Come up with a reasonable budget and stick to it. Make adjustments only when absolutely necessary.

DO start small.

Launch new programs slowly and thoughtfully — and then build on initial success.

DON’T worry about perfection.

Take chances and try new strategies. The best ideas often are those most different from what you’ve done in the past.
© 2017

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