How to Take Your Nonprofit From Cinderella Story to #1 Seed

By: Nikko Ebbole

One of my favorite sporting events of the year is the NCAA basketball tournament. Falling in March every year the tournament is often referred to as “March Madness”. The beauty of it all is the unpredictability; every team has a chance to win and everyone loves a Cinderella story. However, the clock has to strike midnight at some point because no team lower than an eight-seed has ever won the national championship. There are some ways to take your nonprofit to that next level and work your way to becoming a one-seed.

Make Every Interaction an Opportunity

One thing about starting small is that not a lot of people know about your nonprofit. This means you need to take it upon yourself to get the word out. Always carry business cards on you wherever you go. Everyone you meet has a chance to be someone who is involved in your organization. Mention what you do when you meet someone new and gauge their interest. No one can be a donor, volunteer, or client if they don’t know that your organization exists. Talking to people about your nonprofit in a regular social situation can make people feel more comfortable with you and gives your organization an authentic feeling.

Don’t Get Scared Off By Early Struggles

Rome wasn’t built in a day, dynasty’s aren’t created over night, and you can’t expect your nonprofit to be extremely successful right away. Some people like this Los Angeles Mayor can pull off success right away due to connections and a surplus of money. This is not the norm and you need to make sure these kind of stories don’t dishearten you. Nonprofits take time to come up, but the process is worth it in the end. As you expand your company and have the ability to expand your digital prowess as well your chances of success will greatly increase.

Know Your Audience

If you start your organization blindly, not having a target audience, you will find it is a lot harder to grow it and become more successful. Start with a smaller audience and really focus in on them. Think about who your organization targets particularly and what kind of people would be inclined to donate. Once you establish a connection with your target audience you can then expand to make the pool larger.


Nikko Ebbole is a junor at the Universiy of Iowa. He is currently double majoring in Ethics and Public Policy as well as Journalism and Mass Communications. He hopes to attend law school after graduating from the University of Iowa next summer


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