Choosing What to Outsource in Nonprofit Management


03 Nov
03Nov

"I need a face to face relationship with everyone on my team!”Do you, though?This is a statement I have heard often when beginning to work with churches and nonprofit organizations. We are used to working in the same physical space with everyone in our organization. There is a safe familiarity in sticking with what we know and having team members available at a moment's notice.Mindsets like this are largely pre-COVID and we have all had an opportunity to reset our mindset when determining how to structure our work culture. We learned that teams function well and often quite productively when they are working remotely and only see each other through video sessions. A great opportunity has been given to nonprofit leaders in 2020. They have been able to view their staff from a new perspective and think about who they trust to work independently and observe a different side of each employee. While you may have control issues, I have found it to be quite true that if you hire great people you don't have to worry about micro-managing. In fact, great employees usually do better with clear objectives and minimal invasive supervision. If you find yourself struggling to trust an employee, first check yourself then assess whether or not this is a person you see being part of your team long-term and take steps toward whatever your answer is to that question.

Nonprofit Management Staff Exercise

Make two lists:

1. Who do you have on your team?

2. What positions do you still need?

Think like a business owner or manager for a minute and less like a pastor or friend. Objectively, what are the decisions you need to make for the organization? 

List #1: Who You Have

  • Write their name and what they do

  • Are they leaders of people(internal or external)?

  • Are they front-facing, meaning necessary for the frontlines?

  • (You might also want to make a note of how effective they are)

  • If people are interactive with your community you can’t outsource that

You’ll find that primarily support services are the positions that can be set up as project-based freelancers.

You will also need to think like a business owner or manager for a minute and less like a pastor or friend.


List #2: What Positions Do You Need?

  • You might differentiate between positions you NEED vs. positions you WANT

  • Use the same criteria as the first list - are they internal support position, highly relational front-facing, etc.

  • challenge yourself to view as many of these roles as possible as freelancers

  • ***You will always need a very organized person to oversee freelancers, so create margin for a few of your high capacity leaders to manage this

  • When you choose to outsource a position remember that you are going to choose someone who is an expert in that area. They will be quick, efficient, knowledgeable and probably move faster than you ever could in this area. (Contrast well-meaning generalists…)

You can be creative as it pertains to your nonprofit management approach, but a few areas that can be handed off to a freelancer are: 

  • Nonprofit Administration

    • There are incredible people who can manage calendars, emails, simple tasks much faster than you or the person you dump this on otherwise

  • Nonprofit Finance or Accounting

    • Removing your in-house accounting provides better checks and balances, transparency for you and all involved

  • Nonprofit Communication Strategy

  • Creative Elements

  • Research

  • Writing/Editing

  • Nonprofit Consulting, Coaching or Training

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Are there patterns of tension? You may have had ongoing conflict with different departments, even through staff changes. These are great areas to consider outsourcing.

  • What elements of your ministry need an expert? Perhaps you are proud of the generalists you hire who are jacks and jills of all trades and can handle anything. That’s great and I applaud your hiring ability. Sometimes, we need to choose someone with very targeted experience who can take your nonprofit organization to the next level.

  • If you get feedback from a few people outside your organization about weak areas in your systems, structure, or ministry, those are areas to consider outsourcing, too.

    • Do you know your website is a plug and play template when all your competitors have custom features and targeted branding alignment?

    • How clear is your budget and the latest quarter’s financials?

    • Don’t be murky in places you need to be sharp and clear.

Ultimately it’s up to you what to outsource, but you will have to challenge yourself to look through a new lens and shake things up a bit as your nonprofit development evolves to meet changes demands.

Sustainable impact is a core value for every church and nonprofit I’ve worked with. Make sure this is your legacy too. Shift your mindset and embrace a new staffing approach.

Resource Links

Nonprofit Management 101

Managing to Change the World

Constant Contact CRM Software

***Amazon products purchased may result in affiliate commissions for Rachel Stewart.

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