Being who you are, being consistent, and staying true to your values and beliefs is a pretty good strategy for being a well-adjusted, happy individual. Turns out, that this is also a good strategy for a charitable organization’s fundraising, as well.
One of the most frequent issues that I encounter with nonprofit organizations is what is often called “mission creep.” There are other ways of saying it: “Changing your focus”, “Being more open and inclusive”, “Positioning for a broader audience.” The difficulty with allowing your organization’s mission to either passively (or actively) move off center is that your organization is very likely to alienate its true supporters while merely gaining a few new passive admirers.
Fundraising—the sustainable kind—is dependent upon your organization knowing what it is and why it exists and on your prospective donors valuing the organization and its work for precisely that. Know your tribe, build the tribe, and keep faith with the tribe.
There will always be those who intone the siren song of spreading the mission “broader” for “broader” support. Trouble is one doesn’t usually follow the other.
Larry C. Johnson
M. E. Grace & Associates