How To Maximize The Impact Of Your Nonprofit

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The purpose of starting a nonprofit is to have a positive impact. Most nonprofits do a reasonable job of measuring their impact as it relates to their core mission but the impact of a nonprofit can take many forms.

I invented a methodology to help a village in sub Saharan Africa and called it Maximum Positive Impact then I adapted that methodology into a philosophy of life and wrote a book about it.

IIMAGINE is the physical manifestation of the philosophy. My Tedx Talk about how to find your passion has more than 1 million views but it’s really a talk about how to maximize your impact.

I have been living and breathing this issue for twenty years. We can easily get into a long and complex discussion about it but my objective in this article is to provide a very brief, practical and succinct outline of how you can maximize your impact with your nonprofit.

The simplest way to think about the impact of your nonprofit is to break it down into your impact on your:

  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Community
  • Environment

Let’s briefly discuss each category.



Always start by answering the obvious question – what can my nonprofit do that will have the biggest positive impact on my employees? Possible answers include:

  • Respectful and positive attitude toward co-workers
  • Enough pressure to be challenging but not so much that it becomes stressful   
  • Alignment of nonprofit goals (and what the nonprofit stands for) with employees’ goals
  • Encourage individual expression
  • Reasonable compensation and bonuses or profit-sharing
  • Enjoyable work that allows employees to take advantage of existing skills and develop new skills
  • Workplace policies that encourage inclusivity and equality
  • Comfortable workplace: comfortable furniture, temperature, noise levels

An easy way to review the impact of your nonprofit on your employees is to simply ask what impact your nonprofit has on the LIfewall of each employee. The Lifewall is a variation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (and improvement, in my humble opinion).

It breaks life down into 21 critical elements. We have created an interactive version of the Lifewall on ‘I Imagine’. It’s free and there’s virtually nothing to learn. Start by using it for yourself then use it to think about how your nonprofit impacts the Lifewall elements of your employees. 


Some nonprofits sell products and some don’t. If you do sell something you need to ask – what can my nonprofit do that will have the biggest positive impact on my customers? Possible answers include:

  • Target customers: you can maximize your impact by targeting specific people that need more help e.g. a specific minority group  
  • Target result: you can maximize your impact by offering products or services that help the customer achieve a result that has a positive impact on their lives e.g. services that help with weight loss, mental health, getting out of poverty, etc. 
  • Quality products & services: the higher the quality of your products and services the bigger the impact they can have on your customer
  • What you stand for: People like to buy from people that share similar values
  • How your product or service is made: If you use forced labor or do something that harms the environment a proportion of your potential customers will not buy from you.  

When creating your products or service ask:

  • What can I do that will have a positive impact on my customers. Make a list.
  • Take this a step further and ask, what is one thing we can do that will have the biggest positive impact on our customers? 
  • Every customer is a person (or a person representing a nonprofit), so use the Lifewall to think about what you can do that will have a positive impact on each component of the Lifewall of your customers. 


Your community might be geographic or it might include people from all over the world that have a common interest. So, as usual, answer this question – what can my nonprofit do that will have the biggest positive impact on my community?Possible answers include:

  • Publicly promote and, if necessary, defend your community 
  • Help members of your community succeed directly with your products and services.
  • Help members of your community succeed indirectly by supporting other nonprofits that treat your community well or supporting nonprofits and causes that have a positive impact on your community.


What can your nonprofit do that will have the biggest positive impact on your environment? Possible answers include:

  • Minimize your footprint. Research all of the ways you can minimize waste and maximize the use of renewable energy.
  • If you sell physical products then you have a supply chain. Think about what you buy and who you buy it from:
    • What do these nonprofits stand for?
    • How do they treat their employees, customers, owners, community, and environment?




This article was created by the team an IIMAGINE. Create a free account to get alerts about new articles and get access to multiple tools and strategies for growing your nonprofit and maximizing your impact.


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