Big Ideas for Smaller Nonprofits
“When it’s time to change,
you’ve got to rearrange.
Move your heart to what you’re gonna be.
Sha na na na na na na na, sha na na na na!”
First, I extend my deepest apologies to all of you over the age of 40 who now will have that stupid “Brady Bunch” song stuck in your heads all week. (If you’re younger and have no idea how it goes, count your blessings.)
That said … the song, obviously, is about change. And so, perhaps less obviously, is this special section, “Big Ideas for Smaller Nonprofits.”
As you read through, you’ll see two trains of thought riding parallel rails: 1) No matter how small your organization (whether in scope or budget), you can learn lessons and strategies from larger organizations that annually raise millions of dollars to support their missions; and 2) even if your organization has been running along smoothly, you might find yourself on the precipice of major changes that could propel it into a whole other fundraising stratum.
By the time you finish this section, you should be asking yourself one or both of these questions:
- What can we as an organization do to finesse our fundraising strategies based on what we know about how our larger counterparts raise money?
- Is it time for us to ramp up our fundraising so that we can fund more programs or even just improve existing ones?
If you decide to take on either of these challenges, there will be change involved. And sometimes change is uncomfortable.
Sometimes your voice will crack and the girls will make fun of you. (Not-so-obscure “Brady Bunch” reference. Beware — it’s spreading.)
What we hope to accomplish with this section is to help make the prospect of change — letting go of the safe strategies that you’ve relied on since your founder raised his first dollar from the basement of his row home 10 years ago — a little less scary. To remind you that other organizations have gone before you on the road to growth and have learned some lessons along the way. And to point out that, while no fundraising strategy is a convenient, one-size-fits-all key to success, a lot of the groundwork has been laid.
Related story: Pssst … Don’t Tell the Big Guys