Nonprofits are known for serving their communities, but who serves the nonprofits when they need a little guidance and support?
Running a nonprofit in 2015 is serious business. There’s the ongoing need to fundraise, create marketing plans, manage a board of directors, budget and build out sophisticated technology infrastructures.
Similar to a new business, more than 30 percent of new nonprofits go under within two years. The passion may exist, but a solid nonprofit business plan is needed to survive and thrive.
To help, the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership (LBNP) was formed in 1993 by a small group of community leaders and nonprofit professionals who believed in the importance of a strong, well-supported nonprofit community in Long Beach.
Today, the organization serves about 500 nonprofits annually in over 35 cities throughout Southern California. In Long Beach alone, there are 2,000 nonprofits. In LA County, it is estimated there are 42,000 – all of varying size and supporting diverse causes big and small.
“Our primary goal is to build up the capacity of nonprofits so they can enable change,” said Linda Alexander, executive director of LBNP. “They serve such a vital role within our communities, but it is important they too have a support system and can invest in their own leadership and strategic plans.”
Alexander, who took over as executive director a year ago, has spent the past several months interviewing 200-plus leaders and fundraisers in the nonprofit world to learn more about their needs in this post-Great Recession era of giving.
“While we’ve discovered that charitable giving is finally slightly up, we’ve seen the giving is actually going to fewer organizations, but at higher dollars,” said Alexander. “Now, more than ever, there is a huge emphasis on how nonprofits tell their stories effectively, so they can convince givers to invest in and support their particular cause.”
LBNP delivers a number of high-quality, cost-effective programs to provide training, promote collaboration, enhance resource development and aid in capacity-building for the full range of nonprofit organizations. It offers referral and consulting services, networking opportunities, and a full schedule of year-round, educational seminars and workshops – both online and in-person.
One of the organization’s signature programs is the Nonprofit Leadership Institute, which accepts 15 to 20 participants each year for an intensive 10-month journey.
“We really noticed a need for the emerging leaders – managers and directors already working in the space and poised to take over high-profile roles in the future,” said Alexander. “Our program helps those middle leaders grow and we take them through the entire ecosystem of the nonprofit world.”
Each month, the cohort participates in a full-day session on various topics ranging from technology to accounting to working with the board of directors. The group then breaks away for homework in between their in-person meetings, and receives mentorship from seasoned leaders and experts throughout the year.
“The Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership facilitated the critical resources and support that I needed for further development as a working professional in the nonprofit sector,” said Lindsay Gervacio, a recent grad of LBNP’s Nonprofit Leadership Institute Emerging Leaders Program. “Plus, Families in Good Health benefitted from the Partnership’s resource pool of consultants, enabling us to build on our work as an organization.”
The Emerging Leaders Program is a big commitment, but Alexander notes nonprofits can call LBNP anytime for support. The small team of four is well connected and eager to offer ideas, make connections and strengthen LA County nonprofits however then can.
“I’m proud to support an organization that gives so much to help others serve their communities,” said Supervisor Don Knabe. “The Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership is a helping hand that extends across Los Angeles County and touches the lives of so many people.”
To learn more about LBNP, visit their website at lbnp.org or call 562-888-6530. LBNP is available to service and support nonprofits throughout LA County.