October, 2022 – Shala Edwards

The minutiae of running a nonprofit organization: 5 Greatest Challenges In Nonprofit Management 
 

My name is Shala Edwards, and I am a growing social entrepreneur committed to young women and girls’ empowerment, civic engagement, and economic development. As Founder and Executive Director of Treasure Coast Girls Coalition Inc, development director, and professional speaker, I inspire people to lead, serve, and make their mark on the world. Over the past nine years, my professional experience includes roles such as grant writer, digital literacy specialist, and social media marketer. 

This week, I was feeling overwhelmed by the volume of work required to run a non-for-profit. I made a list of all of the items on my to-do list right now, and discovered they fall into 5 categories:

  1. Fundraising: It’s scary and there’s lots of uncertainty. We need seed-funding. We need to secure unrestricted and ongoing funding. We need monthly donors. We have to explore the various giving platforms, and learn how to apply for grants. We have to create – and stick to – a budget. We have to save for capital expenditures for vehicles and buildings. Running a nonprofit is an arduous effort, not unlike running a for-profit business! 
  2. Hiring staff/finding volunteers: Building human capital and attracting the right people who are committed to furthering the mission is probably the biggest job. We are looking for people who have shared core values and a common vision about our organization. To build a culture and sense of community with all staff and volunteers is vital to the success of any organization, takes intentionality, and a lot of thinking and planning. 
  3. Establishing a sound board structure: How do you determine who has the final say? As Founder and CEO it has been primarily my responsibility to make final decisions. With the establishment of a Board of Directors, some who are new to our mission and community, I find the need to establish decision-making guidelines, so the guidance and assessment of community and client needs are considered first. 
  4. Using Technology effectively: There are so many options! So much to learn – QuickBooks, Moneyminder, PayPal, Cashapp, Zelle, Venmo, Salesforce, MailChimp, DocuSign, etc. It’s important to establish systems and processes that support the organization’s capacity and growth, subscriptions, website and building social channels. 
  5. Compliance: Annual reporting for the state, IRS, and professional development and certifications associated with grant funding, Dept. of AG, and Level II background screenings, 990 filings, audits and CPA review of finances. Phew!

In the face of adversity and shared challenges, I find myself often exhausted yet grateful for the opportunities and people who support me throughout my journey as a nonprofit visionary and founder. Walking in favor of God has allowed me to cross paths with Crave of Florida Inc. and individuals like Shelly Denmark, who helped me grow my network and organization in several areas. Chantel Aquart has been a phenomenal cheerleader and her roar reaches me from afar. Although I’m buried in a lengthy “to do list” it is being done in obedience and faith. Hebrews 11 reminds me I don’t have to know it all or have it all together, but faith is required. 

The professional development workshops and spiritual formation sessions with my fellow cohorts, alongside the support from Katrina Jackson in creating a budget for an awarded proposal confirms for me that with grit and grace, I’m able to withstand and stretch wide. The more I learn, the wiser I become. I feel deeply grateful to have met Arlene Blake and now have her as a mentor. There’s power in mentorship, which has been instrumental in the seeds of change for TCGC. I’ve grown exponentially in just a short time, but it’s been a fantastic experience. Growth inevitably teaches you things, and the more challenges we face, the more we can feel for others. For that alone, I will stand on the promise and keep going with whatever challenges life throws my way. 

Shala Edwards 
Crave V Leader