Being More Business-Like: Finding the Right Balance for Nonprofits

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I had more opportunities to tackle the issues of revenue generation and the ever present question about nonprofits behaving more like “businesses.” I have opinions about this topic but will write about it in a later correspondence.

I have worked with treatment organizations seeking to gain more insurance fees, and an arts organization hoping to become more self-sustaining by adopting a capitalization strategy. In some cases I worked with a team of consultants to analyze costs and competition, set pricing, and identify the preparedness of the organization’s billing and accountability systems.

Many people who choose nonprofit work are “turned-off” by the idea of acting like a business. I always look for the right balance of capacity and needs to determine readiness of the nonprofit. I also check that the board is in agreement with a possible culture shift for the organization.

I believe nonprofits add great value to the delivery of quality and caring services, from health care to child care that was once reserved for more traditional for-profit providers. It’s our people and their motivation to impact the lives of others that is a differentiating feature in the quality of our programs. I’m glad that large payer systems are recognizing this as well.

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I am an independent consultant specializing in organizational change, transition management, Executive Transitions and serving as a nonprofit Interim Executive Director. I believe in building board and staff capacity by providing information and tools for informed choices and decisive action. My areas of work include program planning and design, leadership transitions and onboarding, board development, community organizing, organizational restructuring, and creating earned income strategies.