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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

All in the Details: Organizing Your Nonprofit to Be More Effective

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

For optimal efficiency, an organization should have a clearly-identified organizational structure that supports task completion, staff productivity and retention, and program success. Can you identify ways your nonprofit can improve its organizational structure? Check out these 5 strategies to organize your nonprofit to be more effective.

1. Define your mission

What is your organization’s purpose? Who are you seeking to help and how? Having a clearly-defined mission will help focus your endeavors and cut out unnecessary tasks. Schedule routine check-ins with your employees to examine your programs and services, cut anything that doesn’t serve your mission, streamline time-consuming processes, and develop areas that are already successful or show promise.

2. Set up a reporting structure

Uncertainty regarding reporting structure can lead to employees feeling stressed, anxious and frustrated, which hurts employee productivity and retention. Staff needs to know who their direct supervisor is; who they can come to with questions, who will supervise their work, and who will communicate their ideas and concerns to higher-level management. When an employee starts at your organization or an existing employee changes roles, ensure everyone knows exactly how that will affect the reporting structure.

To learn more about effective staff leadership and supervision, check out our upcoming online workshop, “Effective Staff Supervision: Be a Better Supervisor at Your Nonprofit” Register here!

3. Have a Clearly-Defined Employee Intake Process

Have a new staff member or two on board? Great! Do they know who their direct supervisor is and what their training will include? If the answer is no, consider assigning a seasoned employee to each new staff member so that they have a dedicated person to show them the ropes and answer questions.

Creating a comprehensive training checklist will also help both new employees and their supervisors keep track of their progress and ensure they have the information and skills they need to take on responsibilities. Have a predetermined set of easier tasks that new employees can complete with little supervision, then gradually build upon those skills and work towards tasks that require a greater knowledge base. Remember, a well-trained employee is happier, more confident, and more productive.

Check out our upcoming online training “Smooth Staff Transitions: Leadership Planning & Onboarding to Secure your Organization's Future” to learn more about smooth staff transitions! Register and read more here!

4. Assign duties and areas of responsibility

For staff to keep workflow moving efficiently, they need to know what areas of the organization they are responsible for. When faced with a situation that requires a decision, it should be clear who is responsible for making that decision. This clarity will reduce employee stress and ensure work is completed on time.

5. Identify goals, processes, and deadlines.

To set a program up for success, it is critical to define staff roles and responsibilities, create a comprehensive task list, and set a hard deadline to have everything completed. Does your staff know exactly what they are responsible for completing? Is everything that needs to be done written out and available for staff to collaboratively make progress on? When does everything need to be done? Knowing the answers to these questions will streamline your program’s workload and increase effectiveness.

To learn more about program planning and management, check out our upcoming online workshop series, “Program Planning & Scaling: How to Build, Scale & Manage Programs to Reach Your Goals” Read more and register for the two-part workshop series here!

Organization is rarely easy, but the payoff is huge. Taking the time to organize processes will not only increase employee retention and productivity, but it will also enhance your organization’s effectiveness. If you liked our list of ways to organize your nonprofit to be more effective, check out our other blog posts, and don’t forget to like us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

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