Nonprofit Management Institute

Crafting a Successful Third Generation Nonprofit-Business Relationship

posted by
Laura L. Bush, Ph.D.,
Manager of Curriculum
Design & Innovation,
ASU Lodestar Center

Working as a nonprofit professional in the current economic environment can be challenging — and sometimes discouraging. Savvy nonprofits will fulfill their organization's mission by diversifying their income stream. One way they do this is by building mutually beneficial relationships with businesses that are also interested in positively impacting local communities. Such a relationship can be very profitable, both in terms of financial support and social gain. But in crafting successful nonprofit-business relationships, many nonprofit professionals find themselves in murky waters.

So, how can a nonprofit organization best go about building and sustaining those relationships? Moreover, what type of relationships and outcomes do businesses really want from partnering with nonprofit organizations?

Recently, I interviewed the facilitators of "Third Generation: Nonprofit | Business | Relationships | Evolved," a special three-hour workshop hosted by the National Bank of Arizona and organized by the ASU Lodestar Center. These experienced business and nonprofit professionals are committed to evolving the way nonprofit and for-profit organizations work together for good, and they were happy to give me a taste of what to expect from the workshop. Here's a bit of what they had to say:

Research Friday: What It Takes to Lead and Manage a Nonprofit Organization

posted by
Laura L. Bush, Ph.D.,
Manager of Curriculum
Design & Innovation,

ASU Lodestar Center
and
Lili Wang, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor,
ASU School of Community
Resources & Development

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert from our academic faculty to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

A 2008 study shows that the nonprofit sector employs approximately 13 million people in the United States.[1] In the past few decades, the nonprofit workforce has become increasingly professionalized. In response to the growing needs of professional nonprofit managers, numerous university-based nonprofit management education programs have emerged, but few offer continuing education for nonprofit professionals. The ASU Nonprofit Management Institute (NMI) is one of only 56 continuing education professional development programs in the nation.[2]

To better understand the skills and knowledge needed by nonprofit professionals, we conducted a needs-assessment study based on surveys of NMI instructors, advisory board members, alumni, and participants in NMI courses since 2007. The study reveals that current leaders in the local nonprofit sector believe the skills most needed in the nonprofit workforce are financial literacy, communication (verbal and writing skills), knowledge of laws pertaining to the nonprofit sector, information technology, volunteer management, and donor cultivation. NMI students agree; however, they additionally rank high their interest in learning about strategic planning, board governance, grant writing, marketing, program evaluation, and social entrepreneurship.