Have you noticed a lack of innovation in your non-profit organization lately?  Why is that?  If you’re like many other non-profits and human-service organizations, you’re most likely hyper-focused on funding, volunteer recruitment & management, and furthering your cause rather than a culture of innovation and creativity.  This mindset leaves little room for exciting ideas to emerge!

In order to be innovative and grow, organizations like yours can use their size and culture to quickly develop and apply emergent and creative ideas. Here’s a simple list to follow so you can out-create much larger organizations and empower a climate for innovation.

Get Comfortable with Risk

Being innovative requires taking some risks and trying new things. Yes, some won’t work out. Know that everything you try helps you figure out the things that do work and what will most definitely help your non-profit grow!

Smaller is Better

Maybe you’ve been leery of being innovative.  Innovations don’t need to be big and daring. Set small and immediate goals to meet. Your innovations can be incremental things that are close to your current activities of your organizations.  

Lean into Uncertainty

As you know, nothing is a sure thing when it comes to running a non-profit.  This principle holds true with innovation.  Nonprofits that are at ease with change and ambiguity succeed the most with innovation.  So go ahead and lean into uncertainty while fostering an environment of exploration, experimentation, and invention.

Build on What Already Exists

 Take heart, you do not have to recreate the wheel. The innovative ideas your nonprofit should generate are ensuring you create new value for your donors. Don’t worry if it looks like something old newly packaged or is borrowed from other organizations. The best innovators learn how to combine existing things differently or transfer concepts from others.

Measure your Innovation

Keep a record of the results. How are the innovative ideas helping your nonprofit organization, your donors and beneficiaries?  Is your donor base growing?  Are your prospects and donations increasing? expanding? What are others saying about your non-profit?  Are you getting more exposure and PR? How is innovation helping motivate your staff and volunteers to come up with additional creative ideas?

Allow your creative juices to flow and be amazed how it impacts all areas of your non-profit organization and return for your donors and beneficiaries!