The other day I was speaking with the founder of an innovative and relatively new nonprofit. I was impressed with his creativity, drive and the genius of his model for providing services in some of the most challenging environments in his part of our country. What surprised me; however, was when I asked how I could help. "We just can't seem to raise the money we need and I've tried everything" he said sadly. He went on to tell me that he had tried corporate fundraising, outreach to foundations and even dipped a toe in the water with peer-to-peer efforts. "Nothing seems to work" he stated sadly. And yet, here we were in the office of an organization he had built from the ground up from several very successful fundraising approaches.
This conversation isn't unique. I've noticed an interesting trend when talking to leaders of growing charities. Keep in mind, these are inspired social entrepreneurs passionate enough to not just have an idea - but build from nothing. Zero to Hero (as we like to say). And yet, when it comes to fundraising, they give themselves an F. I'd like to suggest an alternative that's realistic and will make folks like these a lot happier...
I often parallel our nonprofit work with endurance training, a personal passion of mine. Inspired by a setback I had in my own training, I recently started work with a coach. Our first week of work together was all about establishing baselines for my running, cycling and swimming. During the first several workouts, I was intentional about not pushing harder than I typically would. Whether I liked my numbers or not, I wanted to give her a reality check on where I was at. Several times she commented on my training log that now we know exactly where we're starting from. And we build from here.
It's the same with our fundraising efforts. This is hard stuff! If you've launched a nonprofit organization or run a successful campaign, you must have done several - in fact many - things right. Here are a few tips for getting comfortable and moving forward proudly from wherever you may be. Start from where you are….
By now hopefully you’re seeing, where you’re at is amazing and inspiring!
Robert Grabel is the President of Nonprofit Now! You can find his posts here and at www.robertgrabel.com
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