Small or Big? You Make the Choice

Whether you’re a one-person charity or a multinational nonprofit, the question of whether to go big or stay small is always there. Make the smart choice and you’ll soar. Guess wrong and you’ll be stuck in the doldrums—or worse.

The terms “small” and “big” are relative. For a community-based charity, a gift of $10,000 can be a very big deal. That same $10,000 given to a leading university barely registers on the radar screen.

The two areas where every organization has to decide on “big” or small” are fundraising and the services they deliver.

The common mistake is to go “big” in both.


Principle 5 of The Eight Principles is Work From the Inside Out. Fundraising is an inside-out affair. You begin with those who have the greatest reasons to give by relationship and affinity. That’s starting small. The oft’ made mistake is to cast your net as widely as possible when seeking new supporters. Not smart. Costs skyrocket while returns plummet.

When reaching out to serve others, we quite naturally want to do as much good as possible. Certainly a worthy goal.   Going all out—as big as possible—is not a good strategy, however. Quality suffers and quantity never compensates in the minds of donors.

Do what you do well—very well. You’ll be judged by it.

Principle 1 of The Eight Principles is Donors are the Drivers. Donors call the shots. More and more, donors want quality outcomes. With millennials this is absolutely top of mind.

The unique fundraising idea is to start small—both as you fund raise and do good work.

You will but grow and become big.

There’s the unique fundraising idea. And the happy ending.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.