nonprofit lifecycle

Nonprofits come in all shapes and sizes. Where is yours in the nonprofit lifecycle?

By Gabriela Perez, JVA Research and Community Engagement Associate

Did you know there are over 28,096

[1] registered nonprofits in Colorado? They come in all shapes and sizes, and I’m their number one fan! Perhaps because I arrived in this country as an immigrant and have directly benefited from the essential and life changing supports and services nonprofits provide in the community. It could also be because I am simply passionate about giving back. Children and families matter to me. I have had the fortune to be part of a handful of causes by serving on a board and volunteering. With my deep passion for the nonprofit field and community engagement, I find myself asking some critical questions: Do you know how shared work space can promote innovation and sustainability? Would partnering or merging with a nonprofit doing similar work increase your capacity and quality of service in the community ? I realize it may be difficult to answer these questions without knowing your current position in the nonprofit lifecycle. Let’s work on that aspect first.

nonprofit lifecycle

The Nonprofit Organizational Life Cycle model has many variations from which to gauge your organization’s position. Do you know which stage is most applicable to yours?

These stages apply to the stage of the overall organization, but also to each of the specific areas of work of fundraising, board governance, marketing and community awareness. Wouldn’t it be great if you could use this tool to determine which stage the organization is at in board governance, for example, and have a visual to help determine what to do to get to the next stage of growth? Imagine going from having a board that just attends meetings regularly to a more dynamic, engaged relationship where each board officer has a corresponding job description/training and, consequently, more clarity about their roles and responsibilities. Could this tool help inform your decision-making and readiness in considering opportunities to help leverage your resources, such as merging or shared space promoting growth and sustainability? You won’t know unless you try. We encourage you to research each stage, determine which make sense to you and adapt it to your needs. You may be feeling like you’re in a rut lately­­–this can help you move forward! If you are tired of the same old committee work formats, it’s definitely time engage a committee to help research the nonprofit lifecycle and create one for your organization in a way that allows you to have fun and release your inner-creativity!

Additional resources:

[1] National Center for Charitable Statistics, Number of Nonprofit Organizations by state, 2010