How to Organize Your Nonprofit Business

Some nonprofit groups manage to organize well and do their work entirely through the services of unpaid volunteers. When the groups reach a certain size, however, most organizations add a core staff of paid employees who work closely with the volunteer corps.

Often, the person who heads the professional staff is called a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or sometimes a Chief Professional Officer (CPO). Some nonprofits also appoint a senior volunteer to the position of Chief Volunteer Officer (CVO). The CEO or CPO manages paid staff, and the CVO oversees volunteer activities.

In your business plan, include your organizational chart, indicating which positions are paid and which are opportunities for volunteer assistance. Assign titles — director of programs, for example, or director of fundraising — and include a summary of key job descriptions and responsibilities.

Because the overriding purpose of most nonprofits is to promote worthy causes or serve people in need, salaries and compensation can be delicate issues. It’s easy but inaccurate to view money spent on staff salaries as money not available for investment in your mission.

Well-selected professionals make your organization efficient and effective and make achieving your mission possible. Although most people who choose to work for nonprofits are in it for reasons other than money, they still want to be compensated fairly for what they do.

If you’re not certain how much to pay staff members, start by finding out what professionals in similar positions in for-profit and nonprofit organizations in your market area get paid.

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