Transferring Entrepreneurial Skills To Nonprofits

By Hanah Cho
The Dallas Morning News.

Startups aren’t the only place for effective entrepreneurial skills. Nonprofit executive Reid Porter offers tips on how entrepreneurs can translate their skills for nonprofit management.

Porter is president and founder of ACT (Advocates for Community Transformation), a Dallas-based inner-city justice ministry.

Prioritize your family
Your spouse and children should be your first priority. If you find yourself prioritizing your work over family, there is a problem. The years when your children are young are some of the hardest and most tiring, but you don’t want to miss out on any of it for the sake of growing your organization.

Seek out wisdom
Surround yourself with wise people. Although I have a law degree, neither it nor my undergraduate degree in history taught me how to run an organization, manage people, read a profit-and-loss statement or work with a board of directors. I am constantly on the lookout for people I can call on for advice.

Show appreciation
Take time to thank people in person, by phone and through handwritten thank-you notes. Handwritten thank-you notes are something my grandmother taught me when I was young. It takes more time than firing off an email and sends a message of deep appreciation for the individual.

Learn every position
With a startup, you often don’t have a choice in the matter. But if you know the position well, you will be able to hire the next person who can take it and run with it.

Take time to plan and reflect
Setting aside time to plan and reflect enables you to stay on track and course correct when an unexpected situation derails your plans. We do this as a staff monthly as well as quarterly. It is essential to growing your team and executing your mission.

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