“Promises, promises. . ,” so the lyrics by Burt Bacharach intone. The question is which promises and to whom? We often confuse these promises and our nonprofit organizations are no different.
First there is the promise we make to ourselves, “We’re going to accomplish______.” Principle 2 of The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is Begin at the Beginning™. Know what it is you want to accomplish and be clear about it.
Second, there is the promise to those whose lives you enrich by improving their minds, physical condition, or spiritual state. Principle 3 of The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is Leadership Leads™. Our organization’s leaders have announced to the world whose lives will benefit and how.
Last, there is the promise you make to those who provide the essential financial resources to exist and do. Principle 1 of The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is Donors are the Drivers™. Our investors provide the very energy that drives our cause forward and to them we make the promise of loyalty and shared values.
The difficulty comes when we fail to cross-check these. Is the stated mission in harmony with your stated goals and are these ringing true with those that provide for your very existence? Nothing is quite the killer as inauthenticity—real or perceived.