New book Practical Project Management for Agile Nonprofits shows how just-enough project management can engage volunteers, help complete critical projects
WEST CHESTER, Pa., July 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Gone are the days when nonprofits were judged simply by their good works, when volunteers were plentiful, and fundraising was community-based. It’s a brave new world for nonprofits, where transparency, efficiency, and sound business practices must replace the benevolent approach to running the organization. In her just-released book, Practical Project Management for Agile Nonprofits, author Karen R.J. White provides approaches and templates to help nonprofit professionals succeed in this brave new world by increasing the agility of their organizations—improving their ability to respond quickly and efficiently to their ever-changing needs—through the use of just-enough project management.
Agile nonprofits have several defining characteristics—one of them is to address what White calls “the new volunteerism.” Virtually every nonprofit relies in some measure on a volunteer workforce to support its activities. Agile nonprofits embrace those business practices that enable the best use of available volunteers. Agile nonprofits know how to:
- Develop volunteer appeals that make it clear to the prospective volunteer what’s in it for them
- Embrace the new generation, leveraging Facebook, virtual meetings, and other forms of social media
- Connect with volunteers and volunteer providers in a manner that reinforces the mutual benefit of working together on common causes
- Address the personal needs of volunteers—through public recognition, professional development, increased responsibility, networking access
- Embrace business practices that enable the best use of volunteers
White says that “knowing what positions on what project teams or committees are best suited for a particular volunteer, knowing what that particular volunteer values and is skilled in, and knowing the importance of that project relative to the organization’s strategic objectives is crucial to maximizing the benefits of that limited resource: an hour of volunteer time.”
Fundraising is another area where agility is crucial for nonprofits. “All fundraisers are project managers,” says Pamela Puleo, FAHP, CFRE, vice president for community affairs at New Hampshire’s Concord Hospital, in the book’s introduction. “Direct mail, special events, capital campaigns — these are all projects. The fundraiser’s ability to apply project management techniques will improve effectiveness and outcomes.”
What do these techniques consist of? According to White, careful attention up front in defining and planning the project (whether a special event, an appeal, or a volunteer search), timely monitoring of the progress of the project, communicating information about the project, and capturing lessons learned for the future are needed to prevent costly oversights and mistakes.
“Karen White knows the world of nonprofits,” says Bethany Sullivan, former community executive with the Florida and New England Divisions of the American Cancer Society. “That knowledge combined with her expertise in project management come together in this book. Whether you’re an executive, a development officer, or a volunteer, this book is a must read to ensure the successful planning of your next project.”
About the Author
Karen White is the founder of Applied Agility, an organization focused on helping nonprofits achieve success with their strategic objectives. She has managed numerous projects for small and large nonprofits and is the author of Agile Project Management: A Mandate for the 21st Century.
About Maven House Press
Maven House Press publishes books for business professionals to help them lead their organizations to greatness in unpredictable and fast moving times. For more information visit mavenhousepress.com.
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