New nonprofits are startups too! - Mon, Oct 5, 2020
Startup lessons series
I’ve been thinking of writing blog posts related to startups to talk about my ongoing journey as a founder and president of a nonprofit.
New nonprofits are startups too! Aren’t they?
I’ve been tweeting a lot about these small startup lessons. That’s the reason I’m starting this blog. I also signed up for substack, but I don’t have a huge follower base in Twitter (It’s slowly growing though). I could have pushed out these blog posts as newsletters through substack, but I honestly don’t have much time.
So here are some of the things that I learned since the inception of this nonprofit.
Running a for-profit company is more comfortable than a nonprofit in terms of management: I never expected this. I’ve had the fortune to work at two valuable healthcare technology startups after my graduation, and I’ve learned many things as an employee. I learned how to lead and manage teams, how startups cope during hardships, prioritize valuable employees, and much more.
There’s a difference between an Employee and a Volunteer. The first one gets paid, but the later one doesn’t. It is challenging from a management standpoint to keep the volunteers motivated with the mission. If they can’t relate to the vision of the nonprofit, they’ll leave. Volunteers are the driving force of a nonprofit. Their contributions are valuable.
Nonprofits are generally slow, compared to for-profit companies: As I mentioned in the previous point, nonprofits rely on volunteers, but they are not constant. Aggressive deadlines are doable but super hard due to these inconsistencies.
Receiving donations is HARD: For for-profit startups, you’ve investors, but for nonprofit startups, you’ve donors. Both value the mission and greater good but differ in expectations. One expects a financial return, but the later only expects greater good. Again, this makes things challenging.
These are a couple of fundamental things that I thought would be worth discussing. Let’s see what the future awaits!