Polish Your Diamond

Like a diamond, your mission has many facets.  You understand how all of those facets fit together to make a beautiful whole.  The rest of us just stand and admire the facets that we can see or choose to see.

It is worth remembering, you are the one who knows or cares about the value of each facet.  Each of your donors, clients, staff members, board members, and other stakeholders have their favorite facets.  Each individual probably over-values their favorite.

Attempting to educate individuals about the value of each facet is unnecessary.  Few of them care enough to listen.  It is better to promote the value of their favorite facets.  As a result, a minor facet may receive disproportional or even excessive support.

The way to ensure each facet receives the appropriate amount of support is to challenge the staff members, volunteers, and other stakeholders who care about an under-supported facet to find more stakeholders for the under-appreciated facet.  This implies finding new stakeholders rather than convincing a current stakeholder to change.

Converting someone to a new facet weakens support since the original facet has less support and the donor is probably less enthusiastic (less generous) about the alternative.  Sometimes the loss is minor but any loss lowers sustainability.

It is usually easier to ask someone to find supporters for a facet they care about than to ask them to find supporters for your mission.  Since they care about the facet, they understand the facet and its value.  Their friends probably share some of their interests and values.  Therefore, it is relatively easy for them explain to a few friends why there is a need and to have the friends respond positively.

Often when someone recruits others to support a nonprofit, the support is given because the recruiter asked.  As a result, when the recruiter leaves, the friend has very little reason to continue to provide support.  However, when friends are recruited to support a facet of the nonprofit they care about, the nonprofit’s new friends have a reason to continue their support after the recruiter leaves.  It is also easier to cultivate the friends because you immediately know what is important to them.

When a facet needs to grow, it is easier to find support for the growth when a pool of supporters are passionate about the facet.  You will find you have a more dependable and sustainable funding stream when each donor is giving to what they are passionate about.  The increase in passion and enthusiasm will increase your nonprofit’s sustainability.

Next Step:

Ask your stakeholders to tell you which facets of your mission they are passionate about

Develop appeals and cultivation activities around the areas that have passionate support

Recruit stakeholders to find supporters for the under-supported facets

Use the growing passion of your donors as a success measure

It is easier to manage many passionate groups of donors than one large group of donors with mild to minimal passion.  In addition, when donors are surrounded by others who share their passion, it helps to raise everyone’s enthusiasm.

Take It Further:

Create a three-year transition plan to move from your donors providing general support to faceted support

Tell your finance team that it will be important to be able to segregate funds directed to each facet and ask them to report on how the designated funds were used to make a meaningful, measurable, durable difference to each facet


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