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Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

innovationWhen most of us hear the word innovation, we likely think of the creation of new products and services. The true meaning of innovation, however, isn’t limited to the invention of new things that no one has seen or dreamed of in the past.

The word innovation comes from the Latin word innovare. Meanings of this term include to “make a change from established routines and practices or to restore or renew something that already exists”. Innovative NFPs find ways to increase communication and successful relationship building with multiple stakeholders so that more individuals come to understand and support the nonprofit’s vision.

The following are some strategies that innovative organisations use to sharpen their focus and gather supporters to help them change either the entire world, or, at least their corner of the world.

Innovative NFPs Create and Maintain Communities

Forward thinking nonprofits can multiply their efforts, and increase their results, by focusing on the human element and seeking ways to connect with others. These organisations focus on communication to raise awareness and donations, building networks of like-minded individuals who come together to participate in the organisation’s projects.

Get Up!, is one Australian nonprofit that relies on its community of supporters and network of strategists to bring attention to environmental, civil rights and other social justice issues and effect change. Since its founding nearly a decade ago, the organisation’s supporters have raised billion in mental healthcare funding, and prevented the opening of new major coal mines that harm the Great Barrier Reef and other parts of the ecosystem.

Forward Minded NFPs are Open to Change and Experimentation

Charities and associations that are the most successful in terms of fundraising, and their ability to provide services to their communities, tend to not rest on their laurels. Rather than being content with doing things the way “they have always been done in the past,” the most innovative NFPs are open to trying new ways of doing things.

For example, rather than relying on traditional fundraising events to raise money, such as direct mail appeals, raffles and auctions, the Movember organisation utilises social media to raise awareness and donations via crowdfunding.

Since 2003, the organisation has issued challenges to raise awareness about prostate cancer and other health issues that primarily affect men. Some of the more unique events include volunteers growing a mustache during November. Supporters can also participate in physical challenges such as running a marathon or climbing a wall and then share their results on social media to encourage others to donate and get involved.

From its humble beginnings in a bar in Melbourne in 2003, this Australian charity has grown to now include chapters all around the globe. As of 2015, over $770 Million Australian dollars have been raised since the NFP’s founding, and over 1,200 projects that support men’s health have been funded.

NFPs with an Innovative Mindset Use Confidence to Power Change

While building a community of supporters, and experimenting with novel approaches to fundraising can make it easier for your nonprofit to accomplish its mission, willpower and confidence also play a powerful role in the success of your efforts. Being able to remain upbeat, positive and determined in the face of overwhelming odds can help your organisation continue to push for change and achieve results.

An example of this is the good work done by the Fred Hollows Foundation whose mission is to end preventable, treatable blindness in Australia and around the world. Each year, millions of people all around the world lose their sight, but 4 out of 5 of these individuals have a preventable, or treatable, cause of blindness.

The nonprofit continues the good work started by eye surgeon Dr. Fred Hollows, and is primarily focused on raising money to train doctors and other healthcare professionals, provide medical facilities, equipment, and antibiotics and continuing to perform sight-saving operations.

According to the foundation, “Our work won’t stop until the injustice of avoidable blindness is completely eradicated in Australia and in the rest of the world. We believe, without a doubt, this will one day be accomplished.” Since its founding, the organisation’s determination and focus have enabled them to restore the sight of over 2 million individuals around the world.

Is your nonprofit making progress towards its goals, is the completion of your mission in sight, or, is something holding your organisation back from achieving its peak performance? If you’re not quite hitting the mark for your fundraising and other goals, it’s probably time to look for ways to shake things up and try something new!

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iStock_000019063405SmallIf you have ever been tempted by volunteerism and pro-bono work, you may have considered doing it as an extracurricular activity – after working hours or during weekends and holidays. But what if someone told you that you can give away more than 50% of your regular work for free without any implications for your business except positive development and expansion? It may sound impossible, but the neo-philanthropist and entrepreneur Matthew Manos has something else to say about it.

About 6 years ago Matthew created his first company – verynice – and started developing the “double-half” methodology – a 50% pro-bono business model. With the help of more than 250 volunteers, verynice donates more than half of its work to not-for-profit organisations from all over the world, helping them save thousands of dollars. Over the past five years, verynice has donated work worth more than $1 million, which has been reinvested by the NFPs in their core activities and has made significant differences in the world.

In his recent article ‘Five Reasons to Give Half Your Work Away’, Matthew explains that following his business model will not affect your business in a negative way. According to him, adopting the “double-half” methodology will not only allow the NFPs you are working with to reinvest their funds for the achievement of their main goals (which he has achieved), it will also help you be part of the difference they make on a full-time basis – in contrast to other volunteer systems where people try to help in their free time. Moreover, Matthew claims that philanthropy is for everyone – not only the people who are already rich and have time to help.  By going pro-bono, you can actually prove that making a difference is not only reserved for a select group for people.

However, Matthew does not expect you to sacrifice your earnings and your business opportunities for the ‘greater good’. Instead, he explains that engaging in a pro-bono community and working with other volunteers and professionals will have a great impact on your business and on you as a human. One of the best things you are getting is numerous quality connections and acquaintances that are bound to prove useful at some point in the future. Besides, working on a volunteer project is likely to make you more innovative, creative and resourceful – qualities that you will find useful with your paid projects, too. And even more, the satisfaction of what you do is certain to invigorate you and make you feel inspired – and this is a reward not easily achievable in other ways.

If you want to learn more about the “double-half” methodology, visit Matthew’s website givehalf.co. There you will find more interesting information and resources, as well as the invaluable book ‘How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free’, which will explain the business model in more detail. In addition, it will answer some the most frequent questions about the operation of the methodology and what exactly is in it for you. Matthew claims that every business can find something in his model, and so far he has not been proven wrong. Make sure you check it out and discover how it can work for you.

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