Fund development programs for well-heeled organizations with large fundraising budgets and dozens of fund development professionals raise money-lots of it. Why not? The resources are there, aren’t they? They’re the big dogs; the nonprofits that swoop in and capture the gifts and grants that the small neighborhood charity can only dream of.
Too often, however, it’s only the gross revenue that’s compared– Not costs or outcomes. Is the philanthropic revenue being sustained over time? More importantly, is it scaling? What’s the net of all the fundraising activity? Young, small organizations will, of course, have less to spend on fundraising and have fewer bodies devoted to it. This does not mean that these organizations need struggle to sustain themselves, or even grow.
Mere size is never the determinant for fundraising effectiveness. Availability of tools-or talent-isn’t the issue. The critical piece of the fundraising puzzle is perspective. How your organization sees fundraising and how it’s included in your organization’s life determines your degree of success.
You see, fundraising really isn’t about money. It’s about people. It’s about people with values and a vision they want to share with others. These people are called “donors.” I prefer the term “investors” because they invest not in your organization per se but in their vision.
Your organization will be the beneficiary of donors’ investments when you reach out to them with a common vision, common values.
Principle 5 of The Eight Principles™ is “Work from the Inside Out”™. Start from within your organization by beginning with those closest to your vision. That includes staff and board members, for sure. Build your networks out from these key supporters and you’ll keep your vision-and have much more success in finding those that share it.
Take a close look at any nonprofit that raises money-and more of it-year in and year out, despite the economy and you’ll see it for yourself. Size doesn’t matter but perspective does.