Management issues for all nonprofits to keep in mind

December 17, 2014

Management issues for all nonprofits to keep in mind

Although they serve vastly different purposes, there are some areas where nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses share operational similarities. Concerns such as payroll, finances, human resources and facility management are all shared between these otherwise different operations. Management is one area where there is some crossover, but effective nonprofit management involves many unique considerations. Considering the volume of advice available for publicly and privately traded companies, sometimes nonprofit managers can feel left out when it comes to finding effective guidance.

Here are a few unique considerations that managers and leaders at nonprofits have to keep in mind for continued success:

  • Employee responsibilities and tasks: While it has become more common in recent years for companies to spread out responsibilities and value versatility, the ability to take on multiple roles has long been an advantage in the nonprofit realm. Because many staff members are expected to take on tasks outside their comfort zones or areas of expertise, it's important for managers to assess the workloads of their employees on a regular basis. Discussions about duty fulfillment related to current roles of staff can help leaders find the best fits for certain jobs – and keep employee engagement at a high level.
  • Board member planning: Board members exist at for-profit companies but serve a significantly different purpose than a nonprofit board. At nonprofits, a good board can serve as the public face of the organization as well as a source of experience and even support, at times. The fundraising abilities of a nonprofit board also can't be ignored, especially when it comes to dealing with high-level donors and other important parties who are interested in a charitable group. Third Sector Today pointed out that nonprofit management needs to be the glue that holds a board together to make sure it's efforts are as targeted and effective as possible.
  • Avoiding fads: The Chronicle of Philanthropy pointed to management fads as one area in which managers need to create keen awareness. The temptation to try out a new fundraising approach or method of outreach can be strong for many organizations, especially if they see success come from a novel effort. Managers have to remember that tried and true methods do sometimes need to be updated, but they have to make such moves purposefully and with care.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.


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We first started using First Nonprofit’s Unemployment Savings Program when we were a small startup nonprofit.  We didn’t have an HR department and needed expertise in the event that an unemployment claim was made.  We knew we were eligible to be a reimbursing employer, but weren’t sure how to navigate that process.  They made it easy to set things up, plan for, and then manage claims when they came at a very reasonable cost. The amount of time and stress they’ve saved us dealing with all this has been worth way more than the cost.  We’ve now grown to a large nonprofit and do have an HR department but have no plans to stop using their services.  I highly recommend them to every nonprofit I come into contact with!


Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios.

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Luckily for us, our interactions regarding any issues with staffing has been very minimal! I can say that all other interactions with regards to billing, 941 reporting, etc. have been extremely pleasant, accommodating and easy to work with. Kim Ghanayem is always prompt, professional and friendly. Thank you so much!

Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ

First Nonprofit has been easy to work with and makes the administrative process easier and smoother. We enjoy working with you.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY