Nonprofit org charts, also known as hierarchy charts, help organizations visualize management by illustrating your staff’s roles, relationships, and ranks. In the past, these charts were exclusively used by HR to keep track of positions and determine where to hire or shift roles. They were largely static and forgotten, and seen as historical documents rather than living-and-breathing resources. So, why have one?
Org charts can act as a lifeline to new employees, by putting faces to names and roles. They can help employees looking to enact change better understand the flow of decision making within the organization, as well as what they need to do in order to be promoted. Most importantly, nonprofit org charts can allow managers and hiring staff to see which departments have room to grow, and which ones are strained. A simple visual can help your team better communicate internally, understand who owns which projects, and help managers plan for growth and transition.
To sum it up, clear and updated nonprofit org charts help to build more functional teams.
Types of Nonprofit Org Charts
The style and size of your nonprofit’s org chart will depend on the size of your organization or teams and how you are already organized. Some examples of the most popular types of nonprofit org chart:
Top-Down Organization Chart
The simplest of the styles, this is a great fit for smaller organizations. The top-down nonprofit org chart has the most senior level individual at the top, and all reports below. There may be a manager or two in the middle, but it is largely vertical.
Functional Organization Chart
If your organization has multiple departments, this is the org chart for you. It has the most senior suite at the top, followed by the leaders of each department, and then their employees.
Cross-Functional Organization Chart
In small teams with departments, there may be people that fit into multiple departments or have multiple reporting relationships. This is when you should use a cross-functional org chart, which depicts project-reporting relationships in addition to supervisory or “top-down” relationships. In other words, you can see someone’s overarching boss, as well as who manages them on particular departmental projects.
For even more types of org charts and for-profit examples, check out this resource from Pingboard.
What to include in your Nonprofit Org Chart
We’ve already touched on the mandatory information you’ll need to include in your nonprofit org chart:
- Roles or job titles
- Departments (if applicable)
- Manager and reporting relationships
We recommend using color coding and different shapes to illustrate departments and roles — these will help to reinforce hierarchy and teams. Some other information you can include to make your org chart more useful to your team:
- Employee headshots
- Email addresses or phone numbers
- Location, if you have remote team members
As an addendum to your nonprofit org chart, we also suggest including an outline of expectations for each level or rank. What is expected of an associate vs. a manager? What should an individual be able to accomplish or achieve in order to be promoted to a director level? This guide will help your employees understand what is expected of them at their current levels, and provide concrete goals for those that want to move up in the organization. When employees feel like there is a clear and attainable path at an organization, they are more likely to stay on board.
How to build your Nonprofit Org Chart
An org chart is the type of design that doesn’t require any design skills — just the right tool. Below are some suggestions to get you started:
An awesome free design tool with plenty of templates. We also have some tips on using the platform.
Typically a content planner, Airtable also allows you to build collaborative org charts.
A Google tool that is typically used for flow charts, but can be repurposed for your org chart if you already have the Google suite.
Like Google, Microsoft also has their own org chart tool. Great to use if you already have the suite.
A paid tool for the more advanced org chart builders, plus they have lots of free resources.
Now it’s your turn! Download our template below to build your own nonprofit org chart. If you have any questions, feel free to tweet them at us @WholeWhale.