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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

Nonprofit Program Management: Meet the Needs of Your Nonprofit Through Planning and Implementation

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

The core of any nonprofit is its programs and service ranging from mobile clinics, counseling services, after-school programs, free tutors, meals, sports clinics or housing services. Managing effective nonprofit programs takes significant effort with funding needs, adjust to community requests and leadership and staff changes. It is an ongoing challenge to maintain sustainability for nonprofit programs. As nonprofit leaders, we want to effectively manage our programs, serve our communities and make sure staff and or volunteers don’t get burnt out.

Sustainability is an organization’s capacity to deliver programs and services over time with growth and consistency. To build and manage a nonprofit program, it is imperative for nonprofit leaders to consistently review inputs for sustainability. Are there programs in your organization that seem more sustainable for growth with less obstacles? For nonprofit programs to thrive and grow over time, it is essential to build the programs in a sustainable way so that nonprofit leaders can better serve their communities in alignment with their vision.

Browse our checklist of inputs for sustainable nonprofit program management with questions for reflection.

Committed Staff: Do staff believe in the work that you are doing and have growth opportunities? Are staff members supported and understand the vision of the organization and the path to achieve program sustainability and growth?

Partners and Collaborations: Does your organization have partners and program collaborations? Do you collaborate with other nonprofits, government agencies, universities or corporations to deliver your programs and services? Do you have partners that promote and share the work that you are doing?

Funding: Do you have committed funders? A mix of revenue between earned revenue, donations, foundations, corporate sponsors, board members and other types of funding that will ensure sustainability?

A detailed plan and a strong vision: Who leads your programs? How do you create plans for growth and ensure that they are in alignment with your vision and mission? How do you manage your programs when the community changes or the unexpected occurs? Do you pause or sunset a program if it no longer serves your community?

Volunteers: Often volunteers support nonprofit programs and services. It takes concerted effort to recruit, train and support volunteers. What does these efforts look like right now and how are you working towards securing the right volunteers to support your organization?

Managing and maintain inputs for sustainability takes time. For nonprofits to grow, expand and manage their programs and services there takes a considerable amount of effort to review and assess your inputs for sustainability on a continual basis amongst your team and senior leadership.

Looking for more resources related to nonprofit program management, managing nonprofit programs and scaling nonprofit programs?

Check out our upcoming training Program Planning & Scaling: How to Build, Scale & Manage Programs to Reach Your Goals here to learn more.

Looking for additional free nonprofit resources? Learn more about our free nonprofit resources page here

Does your organization want to explore more diversity, equity and inclusion approaches? Browse our DEI resources here


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