By Jordan Lappin
When it comes to nonprofit organizations, there are many factors that can contribute to success. Plenty of tangible elements can make a difference, from effective fundraising strategies to strong leadership. However, one intangible factor is perhaps the most important: a strong sense of community.
At its core, a nonprofit organization is designed to serve a particular group or cause. Whether it's helping disadvantaged individuals or promoting environmental sustainability, the mission of the organization is what brings people together. However, it's the sense of community that develops around that mission that can truly set a nonprofit apart.
So, what does a strong sense of community look like in a nonprofit context? It can manifest in a number of ways:
1. Shared Values
A great nonprofit organization will have a set of values that guide everything it does. These values should be clear, meaningful, and shared by all members of the community. When everyone is on the same page about what the organization stands for, it's much easier to work together towards a common goal.
2. Active Engagement
A sense of community is all about active engagement - people getting involved, contributing their time and resources, and working towards a common goal. A great nonprofit creates opportunities for people to engage in meaningful ways, whether it's through volunteering, attending events, or contributing financially.
3. Open Communication
Communication is key to any successful organization. A great nonprofit will prioritize open and transparent communication with its members, sharing updates on its activities and progress toward its goals. This builds trust and keeps everyone on the same page.
4. Welcome to All
A strong sense of community welcomes people from all backgrounds and walks of life. This means creating opportunities for people to get involved regardless of their socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, or any other factor. When everyone feels welcome and valued, the sense of community is strengthened.
But why is a strong sense of community so important for a nonprofit organization?
1. Community is a powerful motivator.
When people feel like they are part of a community, they are more likely to be motivated to contribute their time, resources, and expertise. They know they are part of something bigger than themselves, and that their contributions are making a meaningful difference.
2. A strong community can help attract new members and supporters.
When an organization has a strong sense of community, people are naturally drawn to it. They want to be part of something that makes a difference and values the contributions of its members. This can help a nonprofit attract new members, volunteers, and donors without having to expend as much effort on outreach.
3. Community can help sustain an organization long-term.
Nonprofit organizations often face significant challenges, from fundraising to volunteer recruitment to changes in government policy. However, a strong sense of community can help sustain an organization through these challenges. When people feel connected to an organization and its mission, they are more likely to stick with it even when things get tough.
Jordan Hannan and Jordan Lappin