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The Organizational Lifecycles of Nonprofits: Renewal


In the Renewal phase, the organization has gone through a significant change like an executive transition, shift in strategic focus, or rethinking its relationship to its constituents. It is a time of reflection, reinvention, and rebuilding. 

Standards for Excellence Guiding Principles

Characteristics and Priorities

Maryland Nonprofits' Resources

Mission, Strategy and Evaluation

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  • Reexamine and redefine mission alignment and activities.
  • Longstanding programs may close, collaborative programming encouraged, new products and services developed.
  • May consider merger or strategic alliances.

Leadership: Board, Staff and Volunteers

Four people putting items into brown paper bags

  • New board leadership; new executive leadership
  • Development of formal linkages with other organizations, and clarification of board roles and responsibilities.
  • Many changes in program staff, push for internal and external collaboration; new staff hired, existing staff reassigned, volunteer system reevaluated.
  • White M on red background Board Room Quick Tip: Board Composition Analysis
  • White M on red background Resource: Executive Director Evaluation Process
  • White M on red background Standards for Excellence Packet: Board and Executive Partnership

Legal Compliance and Ethics

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  • Double check the organization is in good standing with Secretary of State.
  • Address legal/ethics issues openly and take immediate corrective action.
  • White M on red background Standards for Excellence Packet: Legal Requirements Checklist
  • White M on red background Standards for Excellence Packet: Developing a Code of Ethics

Finance and Operations

A group of students looking down at a book a young woman is holding

  • Revamp Administrative Systems
  • Structural changes such as greater or lesser centralization; centralize many aspects of the system.
  • White M on red background Standards for Excellence Packet: Financial Budgeting, Reporting, and Monitoring
  • White M on red background Standards for Excellence Packet: Administrative Policies

Resource Development

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  • Critical examination of funding sources, strategies and systems.
  • Locate new funding sources, greater executive leadership of development office.
  • Rebuild relationships with funders.

  • White M on red background Standards for Excellence Packet: Fundraising, Solicitation, Acceptance of Gifts, and Working with Donors
  • White M on red background Standards for Excellence Packet: Development Planning and Sources of Income

Public Awareness, Engagement and Advocacy

A young woman handing an elderly woman a bottle of medicine

  • One-on-one dialogues with partners and constituents.
  • Marketing and advocacy may be on hold until reorganization stabilizes; once stabilized, marketing forges ahead.
  • Rebranding, new messaging
  • Open communication with stakeholders about organization's renewal.
  • White M on red background Standards for Excellence Packet: Advancing the Mission through Public Policy


Better governance and management practices allow you to focus on meeting your mission, strengthen fundraising, improve decision-making, prepare for transition, minimize risk, and engage your board. Learn more about the Standards for Excellence Code - and embark on your organization's path to Excellence.

To see resources for other stages or to return to the Nonprofit Lifecycle home page, click below:

Diagram showing the steps of nonprofit lifecycles, starting at start-up, then growth, peak performance,  decline/crisis, and ending with renewal.


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