5 Lies to Stop Telling Donors
4. We can grow without additional staff or other resources
Nonprofit staffers truly excel at working endless hours with very few resources. They have perfected the concept of doing more and more with less and less. But someday that road must end. Nonprofit leaders have to be honest with donors when their staffs and resources are at capacity. Because eventually program results will suffer and the donors will receive little in return for their investment.
5. 100 percent of our board is committed to our organization
If that’s true, then you are a true minority in the nonprofit sector. Every nonprofit board I know has some dead wood. Members who ignore fundraising duties, don’t contribute to meetings, miss meetings or take the organization on tangents are always present. It’s a fact that funders want to see every board member contributing. But instead of perpetuating the myth that 100 percent is an achievable reality, be honest with funders. Tell them that you continually analyze each individual board member’s contributions (financial, intellectual, time) and have a clear plan for addressing deficiency, including coaching, peer pressure, training, asking for resignations, etc. Getting to 100 percent is probably never realistic. It is far better to demonstrate that you are tirelessly working toward 90 percent.
Stop the madness. We need to stop telling funders what they want to hear and then cursing them behind their backs when they set unrealistic expectations. Funders must be made to understand the harsh realities of the nonprofit sector if they are ever to be expected to help bring change.
Nell Edgington is president of Social Velocity.