Let me tell you in five simple steps how SOPs help your nonprofit.
But first, let me clarify what SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are for me.
SOPs are basically just recipes for your business and project processes. They can focus on a small step in a bigger process or on the bigger process itself. Or a collection of SOPs together can form a bigger process. Just like you can have recipes for marmalade, or for a simple meal or for a 7-course dinner party.
So let’s look at how recipes will help your nonprofit.
1. SOPs help your nonprofit by creating replicable outputs.
Having a recipe makes it easy for any cook to create the same kind of marmalade. The same is true for your organisation. Having clear SOPs helps you make sure that the same action is taken in the same way every time. This creates outputs that are the same and can be easily replicated any time.
That is important when it’s a task that isn’t done very often, like maybe once a month, once a quarter or even once a year.
But it’s also important if someone new is coming into your organisation.
Or if a team member needs to step in quickly if a colleague is off sick at the moment this task absolutely needs to be done.
2. SOPs help your nonprofit by making it more predictable.
As you create consistent outputs you, your team and your organisation as a whole will become more predictable. Both for people inside the organisation and for stakeholders and (funding) partners outside of it.
This is key because people tend to feel safe if things are predictable.
If people in the team have routines that create consistent output of predictable quantity and quality, within the expected timeframe, it gives them more space for reflection and learning. Which will help in creating even better outputs and results over time.
3. SOPs help your nonprofit by making it reliable.
Predictability gives people inside and outside of your organisation a safe feeling. It makes them feel they can rely on you. They will know that if A happens, you will do B. If they ask for X they will get Y. Etc.
Partners and donors will notice that you create consistent outputs every time, leading to a reliable impact for the community or cause you serve.
It is important that your (funding) partners feel they can count on you to generate consistently great impact – as that makes your organisation more attractive as a partner for them. They will be more interested in working with you and supporting you – because they know they will get what they expect in return.
4. SOPs help your nonprofit by helping it grow.
As (funding) partners invest more, your organisation has a chance to grow its activities both in quantity and quality. You can hire more and better qualified people for the work. Your nonprofit will become more attractive for student research projects and volunteers, too. You can invest in better equipment and (automation) tools to create more and more timely output of better quality. You might become more of an innovator even. In all, with more support you can simply get more done with more (qualified) people and tools to ease the way.
5. SOPs help your nonprofit by expanding its impact.
As a result of all the above – your nonprofit will be able to expand its reach and impact. You will be able to accomplish more towards your vision and mission. (And it will be aligned with your values because these will be part of the SOPs!).
So you see how spending some of your precious time on recording your organisation’s unique business and project recipes is not really taking time away from your vision and mission. Actually, it’s a big investment in achieving more over time.
How I can help
I created an Implementation Week SOPs inside my nonprofit support community on Heartbeat here: https://bit.ly/nonprofitsupportcommunity
The live week runs from 8 to 12 May 2023. In that week I will be available every day to share examples and feedback. After this week you can still access the assignments and ask questions but I cannot guarantee daily responses or full feedback.
Want to know more and ask questions?
If you want to discuss this more – jump into my nonprofit support community and get input from a wide range of peers and from myself!
Here is how you can join my free nonprofit support community
You can join my free nonprofit support community on the Heartbeat platform here. This group is a safe space for open exchange and discussion on potentially sensitive topics like boards, nonprofit management, fundraising, etc.
You can visit the community via a browser or via an app. Here is the link to download the Heartbeat chat app in the Google Play store.
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