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Are We a Team?

One of the fundamentals that is sometimes lost as we race forward is that all of the systems in an organization are interconnected. More specifically, this can mean that when changes are made in programming the fundraising task becomes easier or harder.

Imagine what happens when the head of operations starts a program for the purpose of raising money, rather than because it fits with the mission. This can happen when money is tight and a grant is available. The justification is that the program will be profitable and the profits can be used to support other mission-centric programming.

This process has several flaws. You know the flaws but your friend in operations is less familiar with fundraising, so the flaws are often overlooked.

You know:

Grants are seldom indefinitely renewable

When grantors become aware that their funding is allowing the grantees to make a profit, the size of the grant is reduced

Donors question whether the non-mission activity is a distraction or a new direction and may withhold their support until they know the answer

Donors are willing to fund any program they believe in as long as the outcomes are aligned with their heart, so it is better to align the outcomes than take on a non-mission project

Without a contingent plan to deal with the preceding points, there is a risk the program will be discontinued in the future

Donors dislike seeing programming discontinued even if it is programming they never supported or approved of

Discontinuing one program for lack of funding raises questions about the financial stability of the entire organization and creates hesitation among the donors and hurts other granting opportunities

As the head of fundraising, you are the voice of the donors. You know their wishes and the organization must also hear their voice.

Next Step:

Educate the rest of the team about the preceding points, what is practical, and what will win donor support

Ensure that every program receives an objective and rigorous annual review so that it stays aligned with the donors’ hearts and the mission

Challenge the organization to test every decision against the mission and donor wishes

Money is a byproduct of being mission-centric. When the mission is strong, the donor support is equally strong. The converse is also true. When it is hard to raise money for the mission, it is an indication that the mission needs to be stronger. Review the programming and determine what requires modified or eliminated.

Having mission-centric programming makes fundraising easier. When the economy is weak fundraising is hard work. Anything that makes fundraising easier makes the organization more sustainable.

Is there good teamwork between all of the other segments of the organization and fundraising?

As always, contact Mission Enablers if you want help. We use a special process that offers a guarantee. For more information about our process and guarantee, you can click here.

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