did you know that only 144 nonprofits have grown to budgets exceeding $50 million in exchange since 1970? (See source below).

It may surprise you to know, but the reality is that all you have to do is think about the nonprofit organizations in your neighborhood. Most of the 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States operate with budgets of less than $1 million. There are a few factors as to why this happens, but one reason is that there are only a handful of leaders who have been able to grow their organizations to dominate the industry.

People who become CEOs of nonprofit organizations and their core team members, such as directors of development, should look to mentors to help them break through the ceiling. Years ago, when I founded a nonprofit organization and grew it to a budget of over $70 million in less than five years, I relied on expert advice and the advice of others. Formal or informal mentors helped me do something few have done before or since.

If you want to grow and have your nonprofit dominate, then one of the first actions you should take is to find a mentor who has done it before and ask them to become your sounding board. When looking for a nonprofit leader who can help you take it to the next level, think about the following qualities:

  • Experience: The first thing you want to make sure your mentor has is experience. If he or she has run an organization that has a budget of more than $1 million, you’re looking in the right place. He would start by making a list of people who run nonprofit organizations with budgets that exceed $5 million. And, as your nonprofit grows, you can look for mentors who manage organizations with budgets greater than $10 million, $20 million, etc.
  • Entrepreneur vs Sustain:There are two types of leaders, and when looking for a mentor, you must be clear about the type of person who will help you. If your nonprofit is a start-up, find someone who has that kind of experience explicitly. However, if your organization has been around for a while and is in a growth mode, find a mentor leader who knows how to grow an existing group. Entrepreneurs have different skills and mindsets than those building an existing organization.
  • Transformational leader: No matter who you are looking for, someone who is an entrepreneur or a sustainable developer, you want a transformational leader. In my experience, the leaders who substantially grow their organizations are visionaries and inspirational. They set a course and a direction. They empower their teams. And they are never satisfied with the way things are; in other words, they are seeking to transform the reality of how things currently exist.
  • Discretion: When looking for a mentor, you have to find someone who will keep your confidences in the proverbial vault. The reality is that in order to talk to someone about growing and developing their business and leadership, you will probably have to divulge things that are confidential and private. The mentor you choose should be someone you trust and who has a reputation for keeping confidences.
  • Thought Leadership: Nonprofit leaders who have been able to build organizations beyond industry averages are people who, by definition, are thought leaders. If someone has grown a charity to $10 million, $25 million, $50 million or more, they are doing something very few people have done. And, because there are so few of them, the reality is that these individuals are likely to be opinion leaders. They are helping to create the defining narrative within the nonprofit sector.

Finally, when looking for a mentor, find someone who is generous with their time and values ​​having this type of relationship with you. Mentors and those who have done what you seek to do are a great resource for inspiration, ideas, and learning about challenges and opportunities. As in everything, this learning takes time and perseverance. Your mentor will need to be open to being on the journey with you.

Fountain: Social Innovation Standard Reviewhttps://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_new_nonprofit_ipo

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