Let’s start with congratulations. You have successfully established your not-for-profit business (or are on your way to establishing it). After months of introspection and quality research, you found the courage to give your dreams the green signal and taken the necessary steps towards making it a living, breathing entity of its own. With your mission and goals set (well, most of them to begin with), it’s time to start adding fuel to this engine.
But, starting your not-for-profit business isn’t half as difficult as running it. Sustenance isn’t easy, especially when you have to put yourself out there in a crowded market and emerge as a trustworthy contender. However, with a definite plan in place, you can well be on your way to operating it seamlessly. Here are a few steps that'll ensure you are on the right track:

1. Nurture your employees


The popular conception is that not-for-profit organisations only take volunteers on board. But this isn’t true — they also hire employees on payroll, like every other organisation. By giving accurate and realistic job and skill specifications for each position, you can find the right employee to handle responsibilities associated with that position. Once the hiring process is complete, you need to look at earning their loyalty.

Involve employees in your business –By doing so, you can increase their productivity by making them aware and feel that their contributions mean something to the business.

Protect your employees –You can provide benefits that are as attractive as ones for profit companies, like sick pay and vacation pay. You can arrange for health insurance coverage or cover the employees’ personal medical expenses that are not covered by the group insurance plans, provided that the corporation can pay all or part of the cost of the various employee benefits it sets up. They can also avail bonuses as it is considered to be part of the overall compensation received by an employee.

Provide growth opportunities – By hiring just the right number of employees and volunteers, you can reward your employees with better designations and pay packages when the time comes. Give your employees an equal opportunity to grow vertically and test their capabilities as leaders by handing them more responsibilities as they go up the ladder.


2. Open a bank account exclusively for your business

Just like for-profit businesses, non-profit businesses also need to deposit money for safekeeping, earn interests and gain investments. When looking for the right account, find the one that offers you the most without committing too much. You can get in touch with our relationship manager to get assistance and find the right bank account to fit your business needs. Click here to know more.


3. Keep track of your finances

To manage your finances as effectively as possible, you will need to have an understanding of the basic accounting process. There are three options that can help you with your organisation’s financial upkeep:
Fiscal Sponsor – If your non-profit is going to be around only for a limited time to cater to a small goal, then you can get a fiscal sponsor who will oversee your financial management activities until the organisation is developed or terminated.
Active Board Treasurer – If you are unsure of your accounting skills and need a more experienced person to look into it, especially during the early stages, then you need a treasurer with on-point accounting skills. He will also provide an annual budget to the board for members' approval and ensure development and board review of financial policies and procedures.
Accountant – Though you may decide to do the basic bookkeeping activities yourself, it always helps to have an accountant set up your bookkeeping system. He will also assist you when you want to generate financial statements and do some financial analysis.

Buy a software package to help with bookkeeping
This helps you become more efficient and reduces the time required to enter and manage accounting transactions or generate financial statements. However, do note that you need to have a good understanding of financial statements and how to analyse them, as the accounting package isn’t equipped to do that.

4. Keep the funds coming


Money is oxygen for any business, even for a non-profit. Therefore establishing and maintaining sources of funding is vital to its survival, sustainability and growth. You must have dedicated staff to manage the same. Also, do keep an up-to-date donor database, and keep your corporate sponsors and volunteers engaged though regular updates and invitation to events.

5. Don't Forget Public Relations


Always make an effort to promote your organization, its mission and accomplishments, whether it's at a family picnic or while networking within your society or local business community. Promotional materials like press releases, emails, SMSes, etc. are other excellent ways to foster your connect with the public.

6. Measure the progress towards fulfilling the organisation’s mission


Once everything starts operating like clockwork, it’s time to measure how well your company is progressing towards its mission. Most non-profit organisations track their performance by metrics like money raised, membership growth, number of visitors, people served and overhead costs. But these don’t help measure the real success of the organisation in achieving its mission. However, there are three measures that you can employ to gauge your direction:
Narrowly define your mission – Using this technique, progress can be measured directly. Non-profit groups that take the option of defining their mission narrowly must take care not oversimplify it and treat the symptoms rather than the cause of a particular social problem.
Invest in research – This helps you determine whether your activities actually do help mitigate the problems or promote the benefits that the mission involves
Achieving your mission – It helps to keep micro level goals. If these are achieved, it would mean success on a grander scale.
Another important thing to remember is that as a founder, there is a possibility that you become too caught up in the day-to-day administration and activities of your non-profit. This could hinder the growth of your organisation. So make sure, not to pile upon yourself too many responsibilities, but delegate and monitor them smartly!

Now that you are familiar with a few but important aspects of running a not-for-profit business, you can check out our next blog that will show you how to grow a not-for-profit business.

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Disclaimer: This article is for information purpose only. The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. and its employees.