This guide is about a great American institution and a powerful agent for change: the non-profit charitable organization.
In our democratic society, we ask non-profit organizations to fulfill several important responsibilities, from providing public benefit and serving the underprivileged to advancing education and science and reducing the burden of government. We also expect non-profits to operate on a higher, more noble plane than other organizations, and we insist that they focus on public good rather than private gain in accomplishing their goals.
The role of this so-called “third sector” of our economy has become a vital part of our national culture. Non-profits have proven to be effective instruments for addressing social needs outside of government. To perform effectively, however, they must be free to take risks, try new approaches and invest in solutions as they see fit. This means developing the strategies and skills to build the capacities to serve their communities, to become self-sufficient and to compete for resources needed to achieve their missions.
Without financial self-sufficiency, non-profit organizations cannot choose their direction or concentrate on their mission. Instead, they remain subject to the demands of finding their funding sources and in turn meeting donor demands.
As a result, in today’s world, financial self-sufficiency is nothing less than a critical requirement for non-profit organizations and, together with strategic planning and marketing, their highest priority. To secure ongoing resources free from constraints imposed from the outside, non-profits must pursue a long-term planning process. and use business tools to assist them.