What does it really take to pull off something like this?
Why do some organizations tackle huge goals and aspire to incredible heights?
And others are content with just limping along, aspiring for only small, incremental increases in revenue?
I sometimes wonder why so many nonprofits are content with being small-time.
I actually think it is a failure of organizational vision. And possibly commitment.
Because transformational results ARE possible.
Here’s what you have to do IF you want to make the leap from good to great fundraising.
Your leaders need to ask themselves these questions:
1. Do we want to set aggressive, even breath-taking goals?
Frankly, I find that an aggressive goal can be an amazing motivator.
Aggressive goals force everybody to think differently.
They set you up for a big, determined effort. They motivate the troops too!
Huge transformational goals draw energy to your cause and make things happen.
2. Can we ask the cage-rattling questions?
Most organizations are pretty set in their ways.
Everybody — staff and board — are in their comfort zone and they don’t want to disturb themselves.
Nobody wants to rattle any cages for sure.
Contentment leads to stasis; lack of innovation; and a stale, pat approach to your nonprofit’s work.
3. Are we willing to tackle sacred cows within our organization?
Where are the sacred cows in your organization?
Worn-out fundraising strategies that are protected by a powerful volunteer or board member?
The CEO’s personal preference for email over direct mail? (Whoops!)
Protecting sacred cows means you are wasting your organization’s wildly precious resources of time, energy and money.
4. Can we encourage risk-taking?
An atmosphere where failures are punished is a scene where no one is willing to try something new and innovative.
The fundraising blogosphere is full recently of railings against fear of failure.
Do you stick to the safe situations and habits always?
Failure is OK. Consider Silicon Valley’s “Fail fast, fail often” approach.
5. Are we willing to make decisions based on facts rather than our own personal preferences?
You’ve heard me rail against this one many times.
Please, can we look at the data and the research to understand WHY one fundraising strategy should be used or not?
I’ve had it with decision-makers who complain about how they can’t stand phone calls or direct mail or email. But these strategies WORK!
Create your fundraising plans based on what is proven to work – and you’ll achieve great results.
6. Are we willing to set ONLY fundraising goals that have a plan to carry them out?
This is a perennial problem.
An organization wants more out of fundraising but doesn’t want to commit the resources to make it happen.
Or a nonprofit sets a wildly aggressive fundraising goal with no plan or strategy that will set up success.
It’s impossible to achieve great results without a detailed, calendared plan and strategy.
If you missed my Create a Transformational Fundraising and Solicitation Plan for 2015-16 workshops, you can still purchase the entire package of handouts (104 pages), recordings and powerpoints here.
7. Can our entire organization embrace the idea that donors are important to our mission and that we honor them?
When an organization does this, then ALL IS POSSIBLE.
This is what a true culture of philanthropy is — when every single person in the organization embraces their donors as important, valued, and worthy of attention and honor.
Your leaders may be embarrassed about fundraising, but they CAN get excited about your donors.
An organization-wide commitment to your donors will lead you to transformational fundraising results.
8. Can our entire organization embrace our fundraising revenue goals and own them?
It takes every single person in the organization — from the folks answering the phones, to the CEO, to the board.
What would it be like if every one of these people all worked together on a plan that they supported?
Again, this is how you achieve transformational results!
9. Are we willing to invest more in fundraising?
Clearly again, if you invest more in fundraising you will get huge results.
What idea seems impossible but — if executed well — could transform your organization?
What will this take from everyone to make it happen? What is each person committed to create?
Invest more in fundraising, and you’ll see an exponential return!
These seem like huge questions to think about. That’s because THEY ARE HUGE.
But if your leaders can tackle all these, you’ll be on your way to AMAZING RESULTS that can TRANSFORM your fundraising.
What do you think? What are the sacred cows that keep your organization stuck???
Leave me a comment and let me know!