The Nonprofit Business Playbook

Article excerpt

The news can be unsettling these days: retail establishments closing, state governments running out of cash and companies going under. As people struggle to make ends meet, heavier demands are placed on nonprofits in aging-so how do we keep our sector viable and strong? Here are some ideas to ponder.

Think like an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs gear their business model to be ready to capitalize on new ideas. At the Council on Aging Silicon Valley, the area agency on aging in San Jose, Calif., we don't need to wait for businesses or high-tech companies to come up with the latest innovations. Every day, we listen to our expanding community's needs to help us solve problems and increase quality of life. Professionals in aging hold valuable knowledge and can use it to shape the future of their agency, government and business alike.

Think revenue generation instead of merely fundraising. This idea is sometimes difficult for nonprofits to embrace, but we have intellectual property that others can use to tap a complex market. We can help them understand and navigate our space and shape their ideas for services and products that will serve the needs we encounter every day. Your vast knowledge about the community you serve is a product that business requires. …