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How nonprofits can stay competitive

Written By | Apr 18, 2014

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2014 — Maro Zagoras, an experienced nonprofit coach, is improving the sector one nonprofit at a time.

Not every nonprofit operates like a business, but they should. Gone are the days when the mission was enough to sustain a nonprofit. It is easier than ever for the average person, the consumer, to become a philanthropist. They also have more information available and more causes vying for their attention.

Nonprofits start out with a great concept, a worthwhile mission, but making them successful requires more than an idea. Those operating the nonprofit need to make sure they have a clear strategy to achieve their goals.

This doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it can be as simple as making a nonprofit aware of practical strategies they can execute immediately.

“The content and presentation of Maro Zagoras’ workshops are superb. Maro gives practical strategies that participants take with them and are able to use after the workshop,” said Ellen Friedman, executive director of the Aspen Valley Community Foundation.

“Maro is an outstanding trainer whose energy, humor, intelligence and ‘stories from the field’ keep the participants alert and learning 100 percent of the time. It is evident that Maro is not just a great trainer but also experienced and highly skilled at both conflict resolution and meeting facilitation.”

Zagoras believes it starts and ends with people. Nonprofits, like startups, are only as successful as the people behind them. Turnover is traditionally high in nonprofits. It would be easy to relate this directly to lower paid opportunities. However, that is not the whole picture.

Startups attract and keep employees even though they offer lower pay. They keep people by allowing them to be part of a bigger purpose, giving them more autonomy. There is no more purpose-driven industry than nonprofits. More often than not, employees leave nonprofits because they are frustrated with how little their daily work actually contributes to the cause. Being more involved motivates most employees, especially Millennials.

Maro Zagoras gets great reviews for being able to engage people.

Greg Hoch, Planning Department director for the City of Durango said, “Your client comments reveal the same things I felt when I heard you in Ouray. You are a superb talent! I am glad you came back and are doing what you do. There is no one better than you.”

“The overwhelmingly positive feedback about Maro that we have received from community organizations and the positive results we have seen first-hand from her work make me confident in her skills and abilities to handle a wide variety of situations. Maro is one of The Colorado Trust’s most stellar consultants,” said Susan Downs-Karkos, senior program officer for The Colorado Trust.

For every nonprofit there are a few easy tips to be more competitive.

– Be focused with a nonprofit. Do a small number of things very well, rather than a lot of things at once. Not only is this more productive for the organization, it also provides a clear value proposition for potential donors.

– Be honest with how relevant the cause is to a casual donor. Many nonprofits believe so much in their mission that they don’t realize how it may appear to an outsider. Understanding the preferences of consumers is done all the time in business. It should be done just as much in nonprofits.

– Focus on branding. Many nonprofits cut corners on logos, taglines, websites and other marketing materials. There is no second chance at a first impression. Make the investment in marketing.

Finally, as Maro Zagoras emphasizes, empower employees to make real impact in regards to the mission.

Jeff Barrett is an experienced columnist and digital public relations professional. He has been named Business Insider’s #1 Ad Executive on Twitter, a Forbes Top 50 Influencer In Social Media and has contributed to Technorati, Mashable and The Washington Times.