Treating your non-profit like a business to limit restrictions and benefit the community

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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. Running a non-profit benefits the community in various ways but for that organization, it can be difficult to generate revenue to fulfill their mission and not depend on other outlets for funding.

To help local non-profits strive for success, Panhandle Partnership hosted a Social Enterprise Training alongside Joining Vision and Action at Western Nebraska Community College.

You should think of your non-profit as a business.

“It’s like a non-profit because you are having a social impact,” said Adam Brock, Director of Business & Strategic Planning for Joining Vision & Action. “You are doing well for the community but you are doing it instead of relying on grants and donations. You are doing it through business with buying and selling services and goods through the public.

Many of these non-profits worked in areas including court systems, school and even healthcare. Each non-profit discussed their purpose, problem statements and their solution statements. They were able to learn from one another about the different ways of success for their organization. With each non-profit, there are questions you should ask yourself.

“No matter what area you are working in, it helps you understand who your target customers are,” explained Brock. “How are you going to make money? How are you going for them and how are you going to track your impact?”

Brock says the local non-profits are good with finding the problems in their community and aiming to fix it right away but within the community, there are still many factors that need to be fixed.

“Economic development with bringing more businesses to this area,” said Brock. “Some of it has to do with reducing juvenile delinquency, some of it has to do with domestic violence and even drug abuse.”

The biggest issue non-profits struggle with is not having to utilize a grant to bring their mission to life.

“Grants are hard to come by,” said Brock. “Foundations are always changing their priorities. It can be hard to know that a place you are getting government dollars from is going to be around in the next year, two or three so it can feel very tedious as a non-profit.”

They might all be different but they strive for the same goal; to help their community. Brock says if you utilize your non-profit as a business, it gives you unrestricted income with no strings attached.

This was day one of their social enterprise training so tomorrow, they will utilize what they learned and add it to their non-profits moving forward. If you would like to provide social enterprise training in your community, you can contact them on their website at