Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Management... Being entrepreneurial and nonprofit at the same time

Many nonprofit organizations have benefited from adopting an entrepreneurial approach to their mission. Such an approach can utilize new ideas as a way of bringing in fresh air and increasing funding.

In a selection titled "Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Institutions: The Many Roads to Rome" that appears in Wise Decision-Making in Uncertain Times, published by the Foundation Center, Reynold Levy of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City writes that there are certain criteria that must be in place for a nonprofit to develop and sustain an entrepreneurial character.

  • Any institution that aspires to be entrepreneurial must maintain a financially sound base of operations. This means balanced or surplus budgets and diversification of revenue sources.
  • The nonprofit must be driven by its mission and focused on its accomplishments. A well-articulated and understood mission helps to define programmatic choice and guide the allocation of scarce resources.
  • There must be a certain brand of leadership. The top of the organization must exhibit an upbeat, can-do attitude. Leaders must see opportunities, not problems. They demonstrate a sense of humor, a sense of perspective and a resilience that enables them to face setbacks without seeming defeated.
  • The organization must be externally focused. It must be shaped to better serve customers or suppliers or partners. Doing so means that executives within institutions begin to see themselves as others see them.