Creating conditions for nonprofit success

Posted in Grants

“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.” – Oscar Wilde

Rural nonprofits, like any organization, succeed when the conditions are right. So what does it take? Heavy pockets and an army of do-gooders? Not quite.

Based on learning from 13 interviews with Blandin Foundation Rural Quick Start grantees (grants up to $5,000 available to communities that have gone through Blandin Community Leadership training), here are some key conditions that led to their successes:

Communicate Clearly: Framing, framing, framing

Excellent communication is of enormous value in developing necessary partnerships, navigating obstacles, proper framing of the issues at hand, and successfully completing any project. In the words of one grantee: “Good communication is a must. Anything that succeeds and anything that fails is because of communication.”

Build Social Capital: Relationships matter

Building strong, inclusive relationships is key to project success. Many grantees spoke of the need to be inclusive in bringing a wide spectrum of voices to the table. Several stated that using an inclusive process was part of what contributed to the success of the projects. Others saw the ability to continue to engage new leaders into their projects was important to sustaining their efforts. From a grantee, “Utilizing your social capital is huge. I do it all the time now! I picked an all-star team to make this happen.”

Leverage Resources: The Ripple Effect

Small grants can have significant impact. When looking for additional resources, demonstrating the capacity to succeed is key. By effectively communicating the value of existing partnerships and resources, others funders will recognize a well thought out  strategy and be more inclined to act.

What other conditions would you add as keys to success? Post below!

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