Top Barriers for Nonprofit Founders

nonprofit leadership Nov 25, 2022

 Ya know what really breaks my heart? 

The fact that there are people who stepped out in faith to follow a calling to serve this world and now they are overwhelmed, burnt out,  questioning the sustainability of their organization, wondering if they’ve done more harm than good, and just completely confused as to why they’d be given a calling to step out in faith if they weren’t going to be supported in that decision.

This breaks my heart because this was me. I was so close to throwing in the towel, several times, and all the kids my program serves now, wouldn't have a program. That's awful.

And after going from struggling nonprofit developer to scaling my program nationwide and now consulting, I have found common themes among founders and why they fail. 

The top three barriers nonprofit founders face are:

Barrier 1: Being too nice - so many nonprofit founders are scared to say no to people, stay laser-focused on their mission and start trying to serve everyone which directly harms their organization. This behavior is rooted in undervaluing yourself, but God gave you a calling, a mission to serve a certain population, and saying yes to anything outside of that mission is saying no to those you serve. 

This is an organization..these people or this cause deserves our attention. Advocate like that!

Barrier 2 - Lack of organization and planning - have you ever said “we have all that stuff but it lives in my head”.....NOT GOOD ENOUGH. If it isn’t CLEAR as crystal for you nobody will get it. I feel pretty strongly about this one because I think people avoid traditional strategic planning because it is SOOOO drawn out and not tactical.

I have changed all that with my IMPACT ROADMAP, which offers a beautiful external document for my clients and only takes one day to create! 

Barrier 3 - Thinking they should know it all - I know, I can hear you saying - "but Rebecca, who else is going to do it," and I agree with the beginning, it will be just you. But rather than you putting everything on your to-do list, you need to adopt a mindset that it shouldn't be just you.  Then be expansive and realistic when brainstorming on the how. Not everything goes on your plate. As the leader, you need to figure out the best strategy which often means YOU not doing the things.

Get into this habit early. Step back out of the weeds, who else is better at doing this, who do we need, what funding, then your activities should be obtaining those things….not jumping to complete the things. 

You can check out my full episode on these barriers here. 

The good news about these barriers is that you have the power to change them all.

Get clear, Get Focused, Be Impactful and live For Purpose On Purpose. 


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