Nonprofits are constantly trying to accomplish big goals with limited resources. This includes a shortage of volunteers, staff, or tools needed to complete larger-scale projects. For this reason, many nonprofits are turning to project management to help them—among other things—plan accordingly and use their limited resources to the fullest extent possible.
The latest NGO Recruitment Hiring Insights and Salary Snapshot show that project management is currently among the top roles in demand. 21% of nonprofits are focusing first and foremost on program and project management roles.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of hiring a project management professional but still not sure if it’s the right business move, these 13 reasons will demonstrate why project management is crucial in a nonprofit organization.
How Project Management Can Support Non Profits
Your nonprofit organization can benefit from adapting and adopting aspects of project management approaches to fit your needs. Let’s explore a few of these benefits.
1. Make the most of your limited resources
Most nonprofits have to work with minimal resources, yet they usually have big goals to achieve. Applying project management in running your NFP’s projects enables resource planning and management, allowing you to take on more and accomplish goals quicker.
During the planning stage, the project manager will lay out what resources are available and when. During execution, the project manager may also shift resources around to stay on track with high-priority tasks.
2. Quantify your social impact
In most cases, an NFP’s social impact can feel incredibly abstract. Project management enables you to think about your mission and goals in terms of projects. By doing so, you can define your social impact in terms of concrete and measurable deliverables.
During the goal-setting phase, the project manager comes up with clearly defined and time-bound goals and objectives. This allows stakeholders to understand and then explain the social impact the organization is having.
3. Align projects with organizational goals
Project management allows nonprofits to effectively and efficiently link organizational strategy with the results of a project and using eisenhower matrix app. This enables the organization to communicate its mission while linking it to tangible results that meet the needs of its beneficiaries.
4. Empower problem-solving
Project management within a nonprofit enables everyone in the organization to work together as a group towards a common purpose. The work of a project manager includes empowering teams to take a problem-solving approach to their projects. Instead of providing a single, fixed solution, the PM encourages teams to collaborate, engage in group thinking, and brainstorm innovative solutions.
5. Have a structured hierarchy
The hierarchy of a nonprofit organization is less structured. A single person could juggle multiple roles, which tends to delay results. On an individual level, project management brings structure to projects by having clear roles for everyone in the team. Clearly defining and assigning roles before projects commence ensures that people are not making up goals, objectives and tasks as they go along.
6. Efficient budget implementation
For most nonprofits, budgets are limited and restricted. As such, they cannot afford to waste money. Project management improves project efficiency by maximizing the effective use of human and other resources and ensuring tasks are completed on time and within budget. Increased efficiency saves your NFP money and avoids budget overruns.
7. Focus on priorities
Many times, nonprofits shift their priorities from one project to another. This causes many projects to get abandoned without completion. Project management can fix this challenge through proper project planning.
When the project manager plans roles, tasks, and deadlines in advance, everyone knows what is expected of them. The project manager can even implement Work In Progress (WIP) limits that prevent people from progressing to other tasks before completing the previous ones. Doing so will keep everyone focused on their priorities.
8. Test new ideas
It can be challenging to implement every new idea your team comes up with when you have limited resources, however good the ideas may be. Project management enables you to test ideas on a small scale before immersing your resources fully in developing the ideas. You can get a clear picture of resource utilization and check whether the idea meets an actual need by testing it first.
9. Effective stakeholder management
Stakeholder management is crucial because nonprofit organizations frequently interact with communities, private companies, government, regulatory agencies, etc. When managing projects, a project manager stays abreast of everything concerning projects. They generate reports and constantly update stakeholders on the project’s progress and results. Additionally, project managers are tasked to prepare a stakeholder analysis to assess the roles and responsibilities that each stakeholder needs to play to make the project successful.
10. Project monitoring and control
Monitoring and evaluation are essential for nonprofits, especially since donors and other stakeholders expect a high level of accountability and transparency. The project management process includes project monitoring to help know if the project is going in the right direction and as per original goals.
11. A proper way to measure project success
At the end of each project, you need to determine whether it was successful or not. Before a project manager closes a project and hands it over, they must measure its success or failure. Measuring the success of your project ensures things are going as planned, and your team always has a solid grasp on their impact.
12. Improve and repeat
Through key metrics collected during the project management process, nonprofits can determine what worked and what needs more improvement. You can use these insights and learnings to improve your strategies for future projects.
13. Streamline processes with a project management software
Managing nonprofit projects can be challenging due to limited resources and the unstructured nature of these projects. Project managers can use project management software to simplify and streamline processes.
Project management tools bring together all functions within the NFP in one place, accessible to the whole organization in real-time. From coordination to progress tracking, automation of repetitive tasks to reporting, project management solutions helps create processes that are scalable to any size project.
Working with scarce resources is one of the biggest challenges confronting nonprofits. But, this is a challenge that nonprofits can address by improving business execution through project management. Proper management helps in execution and ensures that the projects are completed in the required time frame and budget so you can continue to pursue your organization’s mission.
Mission Control are a leading project management software, native to Salesforce. Head to our website to find more great content and project management thought leadership.