Five Things Every Nonprofit Needs to Survive

Every nonprofit needs five essential elements to survive in today's economy.

At the top of the list is good governance. Good governance requires that the board of directors is kept abreast on policies and procedures governing nonprofit law. Good governance includes good recordkeeping, regular board meetings, regular board minutes, accurate minute, and financial oversight. The Board of Directors sets the direction of the organization as set forth in the bylaws of the organization.

Good leadership is always important to success in the nonprofit world.

Leadership inspires members of the organization to do the visionary work to act in ways that align with the mission, values, and strategic plan of the organization. Leadership is often dynamic in nature; at different points of the spectrum leading will require different strategies.

Brand development is necessary in today's over-communicated society. Getting your message above the crowd in today's market will take some skills, planning and consistent effort. Using social media across a wide variety of platforms with a consistent message could play a vital role in getting your message out to your intended audience. Brand development plans should be revisited as necessary. Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly action plans should be developed to make sure your plans stay on track.

Benchmarking should be considered when looking at your overall success. How will you know when you are doing well if you have not compared your operations to similar organizations? Benchmarking sometimes can show you areas that you need to develop strength, your weaknesses, and opportunities that you may be overlooking in your organization.

Plan, Plan, Plan! Planning is crucial to keep your organization's goals on track. Planning is important but plans should not be written in stone. Plans sometimes require unexpected adjustments as unique circumstance arise due to no fault of your own. A good rule of thumb is to pay attention to the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly planning cycle.

Alignment to the mission, values, goals and strategic planning is critical to succeeding as a nonprofit. Every organization must have a clear understanding of its core reason for existing and how it plans to carry out its mission. Mission, values, goals and strategic planning should be revisited as often as needed; and leaders must be attuned to market changes that challenge its organization capacity to be effective in bringing services to the community it serves on a daily basis.

Phil Andrews is the current President of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, Inc.