Philanthropy New York: Five Management Secrets from Excellent Nonprofits

Experts in nonprofits often call management the “non-sexy” part of philanthropy. It’s true: Sharpening strategies and refining management techniques aren’t as appealing as feeding children or building an arts center.

But in recent weeks, I’ve been reminded that management is, in its own way, sexy. I’ve been hearing a lot about effective management because we helped sponsor the New York Community Trust-New York Magazine Nonprofit Excellence Awards.

Nonprofit offices are not factory floors. The work doesn’t end when the whistle blows — people depend on services at night and on weekends and holidays.

To be more effective, nonprofits in New York City are developing innovative ways to do their jobs while keeping employees fulfilled.

Here are five tips from a couple of nonprofits that are finalists for the New York Community Trust-New York Magazine competition:

Create an environment where quality and excellence are the norm and mediocrity is frowned upon. (BronxWorks)

Never lose sight of who you serve, and make sure that shapes every decision you make. (The Bronx Defenders)

Use data to make decisions and do not be intimidated by it. Data is a powerful tool. (BronxWorks)

When the pressure is on — trust your staff. (The Bronx Defenders)

Don’t be afraid to challenge a funder if you have a compelling case showing a better way. (BronxWorks)

Try some of these and see how they work for your nonprofit, or even your for-profit business.

The winners of the New York Community Trust-New York Magazine Nonprofit Excellence Awards are announced Thursday afternoon, November 21. To find out who wins, follow @NYCommTrust on Twitter.

by Pat Swann, Senior Program Officer, Community Development and the Environment, The New York Community Trust

Read more here.