Why Do Nonprofit Organizations Fail?
Nonprofit organizations have the same challenges as for-profit small businesses. From poor management to poor financing, the risk of failure is ever-present. The National Center on Charitable Statistics says about 30% of nonprofits dissipate after 10 years. Several years ago, Guidestar reported that about half of all U.S. charities were operating with less than one month of cash reserves.
And the outlook has gotten worse since the onset of COVID-19. The National Council of Nonprofits recently posted some concerning news on its site: “Multiple sources signal that an increasing number of charitable nonprofits, especially smaller ones, are looking to close their operations. Visits to our webpage on nonprofit dissolution have been increasing steadily since the pandemic began and spiked 30% [in] January 2022 compared with January 2021. State associations of nonprofits across our network are reporting markedly increased requests from nonprofits…for information about how to dissolve or merge nonprofits. And we’re hearing the same from consultants who help nonprofits with mergers and consolidations.”
While this news is very concerning, the problems are not unsolvable. Read on to learn how a nonprofit line of credit can help your organization stay strong.
Top 5 Reasons Why Nonprofits Fail and How to Avoid It
There are 1.8 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. Like building a thriving for-profit business, creating a successful nonprofit takes strategic planning and careful money management. Here are five reasons nonprofits fail and how to avoid becoming a negative charitable statistic.
Lack of Effective Leadership
The effects of outstanding leadership reverberate throughout an organization, whether by board members, the director of development, or the volunteers. Likewise, the lack of effective nonprofit leaders can poison the organization and cause many problems, such as disorganization, employee resentment, and turnover of volunteers. It can also hurt the nonprofit’s raising money efforts.
Unfortunately, sometimes a nonprofit board is unaware of bad leadership until it is too late. To avoid the repercussions of bad leadership, try talking to the ineffective leader and make specific suggestions on how they can better communicate with the team. If that doesn’t work, it’s crucial to speak to the leader’s manager before the issues become long-term problems.
The lack of innovation in a nonprofit organization is also a sign of ineffectual leadership. An effective leader looks for new solutions for all aspects of the organization, from updated technologies to nonprofit lines of credit.
Doing something the same way simply because “that’s the way it’s always been done” can hurt a nonprofit’s growth and give donors the impression that the organization is behind the times—which is never a good thing. To avoid stagnancy, start by looking around the organization’s operations. Does the office need updated computers and software systems? Is the staff spending too much time manually repeating tasks instead of relying on current technologies?
What about the organization’s staff? Could it use some fresh, diverse faces with new ideas? Be sure to ask people throughout the organization for suggestions. Whether the changes are small or large, change keeps a nonprofit organization fresh and innovative—and helps the staff stay motivated.
Poor money management is a formula for disaster for any business, including nonprofits. The top three funding resources for nonprofits include fundraising, grants, and loans designed for nonprofits, such as a nonprofit line of credit. To keep its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, a nonprofit organization must receive at least one-third of its revenue from public support. Fundraising supports specific projects related to the nonprofit’s mission, and grants are awarded to fund projects, typically those directly related to community improvement.
However, fundraising and grants aren’t always sufficient to cover an organization’s operating expenses, especially when cash flow slows or dives. To ensure poor accounting practices don’t hurt the organization, you must maintain careful records and regularly check your financial statements and conditions. That means monitoring cash flow so the organization is not caught off-guard when an unexpected expense appears. A nonprofit line of credit can function as a reliable backup plan when funding lags.
Bad Culture Within the Organization
A company’s culture contributes to overall success, probably more than the salary of its top employees. In a nonprofit, the culture can increase members’ motivation to ensure success or depress it, leading to eventual failure. Nonprofits exist for the higher good, to give back and support worthy causes. In a nonprofit, everyone must be on the same page regarding the organization’s goals and mission.
Signs of a bad culture include secrecy and lies, backstabbing, bullying, and condescension. Sometimes it’s one bad seed in the organization spreading their negativity, and sometimes the unrest comes from the top. Whatever the cause, it’s essential to address the dysfunctional culture head-on as soon as possible. It may be a good idea to bring in an outside party to mediate the problems or offer advice on how to conduct a “culture reset.”
As previously discussed, it makes sense for a nonprofit to have a reliable funding source to turn to before an emergency exists. A nonprofit line of credit is a short-term business loan supporting a nonprofit organization’s daily operations. Funds from a nonprofit line of credit can be used for various needs, including repairs, purchasing small equipment or project supplies, and staff members’ salaries when payroll funds are low.
Like business lines of credit and a credit card line, a nonprofit line of credit is a revolving credit line, which means the loan funds are available when the organization needs them. Then, when the money is repaid, the funds are available again. In addition, fees are typically only charged on the money that has been withdrawn. Once the credit line is restored, the borrower pays nothing until their next withdrawal.
Nonprofit Line of Credit For Emergencies
With the Financing Solutions Nonprofit Line of Credit, nonprofit organizations always have the benefits of a more straightforward application process, plus:
- There are no costs to set it up or keep it in place
- There’s an easy 2-minute application online application
- If approved, you’ll receive a same-day, no-obligation offer letter
- The fastest setup, 48-72 hours
- Once you get the line of credit, requests for funds are wired to your bank in minutes
- You can use your line of credit whenever needed
- Inexpensive when used (low fees)
- There are no restrictions in place or collateral required
- No personal guarantee is required, either
- Financing Solutions is a leading provider of lines of credit
- We are a reputable company with an A+ & 5-star rating
- You can pay off the line whenever you are ready
- The credit line renews yearly and is easy to renew
- You have a secured account portal access 24 x 7
A nonprofit line of credit is a good funding resource that’s available whenever your nonprofit needs it, without the heavy burden of term loan requirements. If you want to see if your nonprofit organization would be approved and for how much, please fill out the no-obligation, 2-minute line of credit application here.