Alexander LakhanpalWhile establishing a not-for-profit organization or a charitable cause presents as many challenges as developing a for-profit venture, there are some aspects unique to the organizations with a philanthropic core. When cultivating a workforce in a business, there are a number of considerations that go into evaluating potential candidates. Skill, experience, growth potential, culture fit and ability to generate revenue are all factors worth considering when looking to hire a new employee for your business. But how do the criteria for acceptance as well as the structure of your organization change when your workforce is unpaid?

In some ways for-profit and philanthropic ventures share the same desire for success and growth through a combination of expert leadership and a committed work force, but the two differ in what those metrics of success look like and how to get there.

When looking to build a charitable organization, this distinct difference in labor  should influence certain aspects of both the company and how you hire. Creating an organization with this type of workforce in place can be broken down into four steps.

Developing a vision is the first step that will guide the entire process of launching and maintaining this effort. The vision both looks outwards, defining the cause that you wish to support and focuses inwards in terms of how you see the culture, conduct and aspirational growth of your organization. Once the vision is established, it’s time to define this succinctly in a mission statement as well as through supporting information that defines organizational procedures and policies in line with both the vision and the mission.

Step two revolves around building an infrastructure. How will this organization run? What roles are necessary in order to ensure the proper oversight of different departments. What does each job entail? What structures need to be in place to support the operations of the company as well as the people who work there? These are the questions that need to be answered and addressed when building the infrastructure of a new philanthropic venture. Once the infrastructure is clearly laid out, applications, agreements and position descriptions should emerge from this.

Evaluation. Once the employees – both paid and unpaid are in place, it’s critical that the different facets of the organization are tracked and assessed. Gathering as much information as possible is necessary so that the organization can easily identify where it is excelling and where it could use improvement. When used properly, this kind of data can unlock all sorts of potential in a growing organization.  its short-comings and adjust accordingly.

Training and Orientation. Today it seems that this step can often go overlooked for a more sink or swim approach, but arming your employees and volunteers with proper training is key. Not only does training ensure that all representatives of the organization share a base level of knowledge, it also serves as a chance for you to really clarify the mission of your organization and remind the employees of why they want to commit their time to this cause. Ongoing training is a great tool too as it helps keep employees and volunteers engaged with their work, and it ensures that your company is evolving.

So for those looking to start a charitable cause, make sure that you deploy Vision, Infrastructure, Assessment and training to set your cause up for success.

See idealist for more thoughts on the subject.