101 Tips for Nonprofits


  1. Practice the 60-30-10 Rule: Spend 60% of your time fundraising, 30% furthering the mission of your organization and 10% on administrative tasks.
  2. Consult with an attorney about the specific do’s and don’ts of running a nonprofit organization.
  3. Follow the advice you receive from the attorney.
  4. Consult with an accountant about best practices for nonprofits.
  5. Follow the advice you receive from the accountant.
  6. Maintain good records.
  7. File tax returns in a timely manner.
  8. Keep copies of your organizing documents and maintain copies of your board meeting minutes in your corporate notebook.
  9. Review your by-laws on a regular basis and amend and modify your by-laws as needed.
  10. Never let anyone in your organization outwork you.
  11. Set yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals.
  12. Review your goals regularly and link them to your daily tasks.
  13. Make and use lists.
  14. Identify the single most important task you must perform each day to grow your organization. Make this the first task you complete each day.
  15. Plan and prepare for meetings with board members.
  16. Conduct board meetings as outlined in your bylaws.
  17. Begin and end your board meetings on time.
  18. Send your board members a meeting agenda prior to each board meeting.
  19. Follow the meeting agenda and then adjourn the meeting.
  20. Record the minutes of each meeting.
  21. Send board members a copy of the meeting minutes within 72 hours of the meeting.
  22. Gather feedback from board members about ways to make board meetings more efficient and productive.
  23. Select board members who are passionate about your mission.
  24. Select board members and hire people who are smarter than you are.
  25. Select board members who work well with others.
  26. Select board members with management and or fundraising experience.
  27. Educate board members on their duties and responsibilities.
  28. Educate board members, employee and volunteers on what they can to do to help grow your organization.
  29. Delegate tasks to your board members.
  30. Listen carefully to your board members.
  31. Quickly resolve conflicts with and between board members.
  32. Help your board members, employees and volunteers plan and prepare a presentation for potential donors/supporters/sponsors.
  33. Provide each of your board members, employees and volunteers with business cards and other marketing materials.
  34. Compile a list of everyone you know that might be interested in working for, volunteering with, donating to or providing expertise to your organization.
  35. Ask your board members, employees and volunteers to compile a list of everyone he/she knows that might be interested in working for, volunteering with, donating to or providing expertise to your organization.
  36. Contact every person on each of the above lists.
  37. Lavish your board members with praise and gratitude.
  38. Hire people who are smarter than you are.
  39. Trust the people you hire to do what you hired them to do.
  40. Do not hire anybody (ie. family members and friends) you can’t fire.
  41. Educate board members, employees and volunteers on their duties and responsibilities.
  42. Carefully cultivate a culture of caring for everyone who works for or on behalf of your organization.
  43. Quickly resolve conflicts with and between your employees/volunteers.
  44. Respect your employees/volunteers time. Plan and prepare for meetings with them.
  45. Listen carefully to what your employees/volunteers are saying.
  46. Gather feedback from employees/volunteers about ways to improve your work environment.
  47. Provide each of your employees/volunteers with business cards and other marketing materials.
  48. Lavish your employees and volunteers with praise and gratitude.
  49. Call at least one donor each day and say “thank you.”
  50. Develop a strong response to the question, “Why should I donate to your organization?”
  51. Follow the Golden Rule. Treat your donors/supporters/sponsors the way you would want to be treated.
  52. Listen carefully to what your donors/supporters/sponsors are saying.
  53. Listen carefully to what people who decline your request for donations are saying.
  54. Gather feedback from donors/supporters/sponsors about how to improve your relationship.
  55. Educate your donors/supporters/sponsors on every aspect of your organization.
  56. Develop a strategy for retaining donors/sponsors/supporters.
  57. Educate donors/sponsors/supporters on how they can help grow your organization.
  58. Make it easy for people to donate time and money to your organization.
  59. Quickly resolve conflicts with your donors/supporters/sponsors.
  60. Carefully plan and prepare for presentations to potential donors/supporters/sponsors.
  61. Treat everyone you meet as a potential donor/supporter/sponsor.
  62. Commit to growing an organization that is worthy of every donation you receive.
  63. Prepare a Marketing/Fundraising Plan.
  64. Prepare a Marketing/Fundraising Budget.
  65. Whenever you come across a fundraising letter or direct mail piece that catches your eye, save it. You can use them as inspiration when creating your promotional materials.
  66. Follow the Rule of Five. Commit to doing at least 5 things each day to promote your organization.
  67. Follow up on every lead you receive on the same day you receive it.
  68. Remind yourself that fundraising requires commitment.
  69. Recognize that fundraising is the means, not the goal.
  70. Don’t be bashful about announcing your achievements as your organization grows.
  71. Hire a professional to design a business card that reflects the image of your organization.
  72. Keep business cards on you at all times.
  73. Give away at least one business card each day.
  74. Have a professional brochure created that includes a donation request and other ways people can help.
  75. Hire a professional to develop a website that makes it clear what you do and how people can help.
  76. Write articles for local newspapers or magazine and Internet sites.
  77. Adopt the Three-Foot Rule: Talk to anyone and everyone you meet that comes within three feet of you about your organization.
  78. Develop strategic partnerships with other nonprofits.
  79. Get free publicity by sponsoring a poll or conducting a survey that relates to your organization.
  80. Allow donors to make donations via credit and debit cards.
  81. Take a class in marketing.
  82. Offer something free to people who donate to your organization.
  83. Create a camera-ready news or feature story about your organization and send it to your local media.
  84. Follow the Rule of Seven: If you want people to take action and support your organization, you must connect with them at least seven times within an 18-month period.
  85. Maintain a list of everyone who interacts with your organization in any way and develop a strategy to stay connected.
  86. Send a handwritten thank-you note to at least one person who works for—or on behalf of —your organization each day.
  87. Network with other people who start or run nonprofits or for-profit organizations.
  88. Let the key people in your community know what you do and what you need.
  89. Make certain that your organization is listed on all appropriate directories.
  90. Accept full responsibility for what happens within your organization.
  91. Learn from your failures and mistakes.
  92. Do not try to do everything yourself and ask for help before you need it.
  93. Trust your common sense.
  94. Listen carefully to what your champions are saying.
  95. Listen carefully to what your critics are saying.
  96. Keep your mind open to new ideas and when necessary be willing to change your mind.
  97. Accept that you don’t know everything and that you are not always right.
  98. Identify your strengths and learn to maximize them.
  99. Identify your weaknesses and learn ways to overcome them.
  100. Make a commitment to being a lifelong learner.
  101. Improve your public speaking skills by joining a local Toastmasters group.



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