Sustainability of Nonprofit Organizations Focused on Gender Equity
This project assists ShowMe50, LLC in developing a plan to move from a small start-up nonprofit to a sustainable organization. ShowMe50 faces barriers to growth such as a lack of committed volunteers, few organizational partnerships, and insufficient funding sources. The focus of the project includes an assessment of ShowMe50’s capacity for sustainability using an evidence-based model, identification of the contributing factors to ShowMe50’s gaps in capacity, and how peer organizations have addressed similar sustainability challenges. A mixed-method design includes interviews with the ShowMe50 founder and with leaders of five peer organizations, organizational document review, and surveys of past and current ShowMe50 board members, volunteers and customers. Findings identify capacity gaps that include resources (staffing, financial, and partnership) and management functions (internal processes and programs/services). Several factors contribute to ShowMe50’s barriers including limited management processes to retain volunteers, limited board expertise and connections and low expectations for fundraising, and limited staffing and programs/services to maintain partnerships. Sustainability themes identified from peer organizations include the influential role of the nonprofit’s CEO on fundraising, virtual operating models, mutually beneficial partnerships to grow revenue, development of proprietary programs, and an ambitious organizational mindset.