Managing a non-profit, like any business, is not all rainbows and butterflies despite the worthy cause involved. The effective management of an NGO, CBO, or any civil society group requires leaders to establish and refine specific skills that secure the survival and advancement of the organization.
Here are six essential skills that managers need to consistently develop:
Strong Leadership Skills
In order to get the most out of your team members a manager must know how to inspire, encourage, and guide employees, delegate tasks, oversee operations without abdicating responsibility, demonstrate decisiveness and problem-solving skills, prioritize tasks and constructively multitask to maintain productivity. It’s quite the balancing act.
Business Development Skills
A good manager must know how to keep their finger on the pulse of the industry in order to know when and how to change to gain the competitive advantage. They must be capable of spotting areas whereby the organization can be advanced, processes improved, and collaborative relationships developed.
Financial Management Skills
Another critical skill is understanding and being able to manage the finances of the organization to some extent. Managers should be able to read financial statements, forecast cash flows, and profit and loss. This allows managers to be able to consider the future financial security of the organization in their decision making and problem-solving pronouncements.
Great managers must seek to communicate in a way that makes people listen, think and willingly cooperate. Therefore, it is important that managers develop an effective communication style that actively caters to addressing body language, tone, facial expressions, choice of words etc…
Project Planning and Project Management
Project planning and management skills provide managers with team management, time management, risk management, negotiation, organizational, and problem-solving skills crucial to proficiently oversee the operations of a non-profit.
Marketing, Sales and Customer Service
As the head of an organization, a good manager must be able to effectively market the organization in order to secure donations and support. This includes being able to ‘sell’ the organizations’ vision and mission and also being able to provide customer service!
While as a manager or future manager you may not be strong in every area, it’s a great idea to be familiar and flexible with the role and requirements of each area and purposefully invest in developing and sharpening these management skills.