The Nonprofit Innovation Advantage: Purpose

Nonprofit innovation advantageResearch has amassed over the past several years that details how much positive impact it can have on the workplace to offer employees a sense of purpose. Purpose doesn’t just mean that an employee has the ability to influence meaningful decisions at an organization, but also that an employee believes they are part of a consequential mission. This type of purpose can help employees feel engaged, stay longer, work more effectively, and more.

This is actually a key advantage that nonprofits have when it comes to innovation. Employees, donors, and recipients of a nonprofit’s services see the true and profound value of helping a nonprofit succeed in its mission, which can positively impact innovation in three ways:

  • Motivating participants to share their ideas. If you’re working on a crowdsourced innovation program, one of the key challenges is finding a way to make participants care about the outcome, but with nonprofit crowdsourced innovation programs, the purpose and outcomes are more readily apparent – you’ll help that organization achieve that goal better, faster, or more broadly.
  • Motivating participants to help support meaningful ideas. One of the key challenges that nonprofits face, of course, is finding enough new resources for promising ideas. One of the benefits of a crowdsourced innovation program, however, is that you can find additional resources to implement ideas outside of your organization (or in other unlikely places). Think of how the Cerebral Palsy Alliance wanted to find ideas that would impact those living with cerebral palsy; a man in Turkey wanted a solar powered wheelchair to help him have access to power more easily and a team in Virginia built a prototype for him. Anyone, anywhere can join the team this way and maximize resources and time.
  • Aligning ideas to key organizational goals. Because nonprofits have a clear mission, it creates concret objectives and criteria by which it is easier to make decisions. It’s less likely that a nonprofit will be distracted by irrelevant or off-topic ideas and will instead focus on impactful innovation.

Those are just a few advantages that nonprofit innovators might have. To learn more about nonprofit innovation, download our complimentary infographic on the subject.

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