Top 10 tips on how to successfully run a nonprofit organization remotely


Rachita Jain


Word Count
In today's dynamic workplace, addressing remote work in the nonprofit sector is of utmost importance. In order to address societal issues like eradicating poverty, increasing education, improving healthcare, and preserving the environment, nonprofit organizations play a significant role. Therefore, to match the pace of the world, nonprofit organizations must adjust to the changing dynamics of the workforce. By opting for remote work policies, nonprofits can effectively carry out their goals and become one of the most significant sectors of the economy. Understanding how to successfully run a nonprofit in this evolving landscape, where remote work is increasingly prevalent, is key to ensuring the organization's sustainability and impact.

1. Benefits of remote work for nonprofit organizations

In today's fast-paced digital world, working remotely has become more popular and accessible than ever before. While remote work offers many benefits to businesses and employees alike, nonprofit organizations can also greatly benefit from adopting a remote work structure. Here are several reasons why nonprofit organizations should consider working remotely:

1.1 Increased access to top talent

One of the primary advantages of remote work is access to a much wider pool of talent. By not limiting their hiring to a specific geographic area, nonprofit organizations can attract highly skilled professionals who might be interested in contributing their expertise to a meaningful cause but are unable or unwilling to relocate.

1.2 Reduced operational costs

Working remotely can help nonprofit organizations reduce overhead expenses such as office rent, utilities, and maintenance costs, which is a crucial aspect of how to successfully run a nonprofit. These savings can then be redirected towards the organization's mission and programs, allowing them to maximize their impact and reach.

1.3 Improved employee satisfaction and productivity

Employees who work remotely often report higher levels of satisfaction, as they can avoid lengthy commutes, find better work-life balance, and enjoy a more flexible schedule. This increased satisfaction can lead to improved productivity, benefitting the nonprofit organization's overall performance.

1.4 Engagement with a global audience

A remote workforce allows nonprofit organizations to extend their reach beyond their immediate locality. By connecting with supporters, volunteers, and stakeholders from different parts of the world, these organizations have a unique opportunity to expand their global presence and awareness for their cause.

1.5 Environmentally friendly approach

By reducing the need for commuting and cutting back on office-related resource consumption, remote work is an environmentally friendly choice, which is one aspect of how to successfully run a nonprofit. This aligns well with the values of many nonprofit organizations that strive for social responsibility and sustainability.

1.6 Increased collaboration and diversity

Embracing remote work enables nonprofit organizations to bring together team members from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This diversity can lead to more creative ideas, innovative problem-solving approaches, and a stronger organizational culture.

2. Common challenges nonprofits may face when transitioning to remote work

2.1 Technology infrastructure

Nonprofits may lack the necessary technology infrastructure for remote work, including reliable internet access and suitable devices for employees and volunteers. Ensuring that everyone has access to the required technology can be a significant challenge, particularly for organizations with limited budgets.

2.2 Data security

Sensitive information about donors, beneficiaries, and operations is frequently handled by nonprofits. Strong cybersecurity measures, such as secure file sharing, VPNs, and employee training on data protection methods, are needed to maintain data security and privacy in a remote work environment.

2.3 Communication and collaboration

Good communication and collaboration can be more challenging in a remote setting. Nonprofits must invest in collaboration tools, such as video conferencing, project management software, and instant messaging, to facilitate teamwork and information sharing.

2.4 Organizational culture

Maintaining a robust organizational culture in a remote work environment can be challenging. Nonprofits should cultivate their culture through virtual celebrations, regular communication, and reinforcing the organization's mission and values.

2.5 Legal and compliance issues

The labor laws and rules governing remote work may vary by country, area, and jurisdiction, posing a challenge in understanding how to successfully run a nonprofit. Nonprofits must navigate these legal complexities and ensure compliance with applicable laws.

2.6 Resource allocation

Balancing the cost savings of remote work with the necessary investments in technology, training, and cybersecurity can be a challenge. Nonprofits must carefully allocate resources to support their remote work initiatives effectively.

3. Tools and technologies to use if you don't know how to run a nonprofit organization successfully

If you are a remote nonprofit organization, then here is a list of some essential tools and technologies you:
  • Zoom: For virtual meetings, webinars, and collaboration.
  • Slack: A messaging platform for real-time communication and team collaboration.
  • Trello: A visual project management tool for organizing tasks and projects.
  • Asana: Provides task management, project planning, and collaboration features.
  • A work operating system for visual project management and workflow automation.
  • Google Drive: Store, share, and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
  • Dropbox: A cloud-based file storage and sharing solution.
  • OneDrive: Microsoft's cloud storage service integrated with Microsoft Office apps.
4. Fundraising and donor management
  • DonorPerfect: A comprehensive donor management and fundraising software.
  • Bloomerang: Offers donor management, fundraising, and communication tools.
  • Fundly: Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising platform.
  • Notion: A versatile tool for note-taking, project management, and collaboration.
  • Miro: An online collaborative whiteboard for visual brainstorming and planning.
6. Online Survey and Data Collection
  • SurveyMonkey: Create and distribute surveys for data collection and feedback.
  • Typeform: A user-friendly survey and form builder.
  • Google Forms: Free and easy-to-use survey and data collection tool.
7. Social media and marketing
  • Hootsuite: Manage and schedule social media posts across multiple platforms.
  • MailChimp: Email marketing and automation platform.
  • Buffer: A social media management tool for scheduling and analytics.
8. Donor engagement and CRM
9. Online learning and training
  • Moodle: An open-source learning management system (LMS).
10. Financial management
  • Xero: Another cloud-based accounting solution for nonprofits.
  • Wave: A free accounting and financial software platform.

4. Top tips on how can nonprofit organizations embrace remote work culture?

4.1 Assess readiness and needs

The first step to forming a remote team is evaluating your organization's technology infrastructure, including internet connectivity and hardware availability. Identify roles and tasks that can be performed remotely and determine the needs and preferences of your employees and volunteers regarding remote work. This will give your organization the grounds to establish a sound, remote work environment.
  • Conduct a needs assessment survey among volunteers.
  • Review volunteer roles and functions to determine remote work feasibility.
  • Examine the organization's current culture and values.

4.2 Embrace cloud-based tools and platforms

To efficiently manage a remote team of volunteers and staff, investing in reliable cloud-based tools is vital, and this is an essential component of understanding how to successfully run a nonprofit. This includes project management software, file-sharing platforms, video conferencing applications, and productivity apps that keep everyone connected and organized. Utilize these tools to streamline workflows, facilitate communication, and keep track of ongoing tasks and projects.

4.3 Establish clear remote work policies

Create comprehensive guidelines outlining expectations during remote work arrangements. These policies should address communication protocols, availability hours, task management, and the use of technology resources. Well-defined guidelines will help ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities and is equipped to perform their roles effectively from a distance.

4.4 Prioritize effective communication

Maintaining regular communication in remote nonprofit teams is critical for seamless collaboration. Utilize video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype for group meetings, routine check-ins, and brainstorming sessions. Encourage instant messaging apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams for quick updates or queries, helping maintain clarity on progress towards organizational goals.

4.5 Invest in virtual training programs

Training plays a vital role in maintaining the proficiency levels of your team members. Offer virtual workshops or webinars that empower employees with new skills relevant to their roles within the nonprofit sector. Emphasizing continued learning will keep team members engaged while allowing them to enhance their expertise in service of your organization's mission.

4.6 Support employee mental health

Remote work can present challenges in maintaining a healthy work-life balance for staff members operating away from traditional office environments. Be mindful of potential burnout or feelings of isolation by offering emotional support, encouraging open dialogue, and promoting regular breaks from screens. This will create a positive remote work culture, ultimately benefiting your organization's overall well-being and productivity.

4.7 Technical support and resources

If, as a nonprofit organization, you are planning to go remote, then be ready to provide ongoing support for employees, which is an essential aspect of understanding how to successfully run a nonprofit. This includes an IT helpdesk and resources for mental health and well-being. Not everyone who will be ready to volunteer will be tech-savvy. Many people will need IT support with all the tools and technologies that your organization will be using. Hence, it becomes crucial to offer technical support and training for using remote tools effectively.

4.8 Data security and privacy

To have a robust remote work environment, make sure you implement strong data security measures, including VPNs, encryption, and secure file sharing. Further, train employees on data security best practices to prevent breaches or leaks.

4.9 Celebrate accomplishments

Recognizing accomplishments in a remote nonprofit setting can help maintain team morale and foster relationships among team members. Celebrate successes, whether it be through virtual award ceremonies, shout-outs in team meetings, or sharing milestones on social media. This fosters a sense of community and gives team members something to rally around, even when physically apart.

4.10 Adapt and improve

Just because you have set a remote setup doesn't mean it will work. Consider it as a process and not a one-time setup. You will have to design and re-design the policies as per their significance and outcome. Therefore, continuously assess the effectiveness of your remote work strategy and make improvements as needed. Seek feedback from employees and volunteers to identify areas for enhancement and then work on them until you are all set.


In conclusion, nonprofit organizations have much to gain from adopting remote work, which is a key consideration when pondering how to successfully run a nonprofit. By embracing this modern approach, they can attract top talent, reduce operational costs, improve productivity and employee satisfaction, expand their global reach, showcase environmental responsibility, and foster greater collaboration and diversity within their teams. In turn, these benefits can directly contribute to the success of their mission and help make a positive impact in the world.

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