Financial sustainability for nonprofits

By - December 8, 2015

Inconsistent delivery of services, quality issues, and lack of adequate funding to sustain operations can have a significant impact on your nonprofit organization and the programs that provide services and support to the community. Improving performance often takes a back seat to the daily demands of running your organization and the result may be inefficiency and lost opportunities. Sustainability increases when processes are continuously streamlined, supporting services are centralized, interdependent activities are coordinated, and roles and operating procedures are standardized. Also, keep in mind that change can be difficult and staff may be resistant, at least at first.

Tangible benefits to your organization can be found by focusing on mitigating program risks and improving operational and financial performance. Benefits result from more efficient and effective delivery of services and support as well as increasing the likelihood of achieving sustainability. In today’s challenging environment, nonprofits must focus on practices, similar to successful for-profit businesses, to build sustainable programs.

Case Study: Applying the key components

A state’s department on aging, several related Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), and RSM have worked over the past year to improve overall sustainability of the state’s aging networks. Our objectives are to streamline and standardize practices, to improve financial results, and to increase the impact of programs in aging, health and supporting long-term needs. A focus of our work has been to provide tangible benefits from plans to measure and improve performance through more effective delivery of services and supports as well as to increase the likelihood of achieving sustainability into the future.

When developing plans to improve sustainability we considered these key components:

  • Alignment of programs with the organization’s mission, vision and strategies
  • Focus on the critical factors that drive successful program delivery
  • Adequate financial resources necessary to support program sustainability
  • Leveraging industry proven practices from other industries
  • Advancing skill sets and expertise of the people
  • More effective management of programs to achieve objectives
  • Compliance with audit, filing, and reporting requirements
  • Programs with higher levels of stakeholder engagement and involvement
  • Maximized quality and consumer satisfaction
  • Minimized risk to increase the likelihood of program success

RSM’s work was acknowledged as instrumental in helping to establish the state’s program as the primary interface with the public for aging resources. We helped to further build out their aging network’s foundation towards providing financially sustainable home and community based services. To learn more about how RSM can assist you with your other business needs, contact RSM’s management consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us.


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