It's OK to Be a Small Shop
If you work for a small nonprofit, you know there are lots of challenges. You have to manage your time and priorities, surround yourself with support, and go after the opportunities that give you the most return for your investment of time and money. But one of the biggest challenges to working in a small nonprofit you may not even notice, yet it can be a huge stumbling block to your organization's growth.
Way too many folks who work in the nonprofit world limit themselves with how they look at their organizations. They see them as little. Stop for a minute and think about what that means. If I believe my organization is little, I see it as not having the resources it needs or the opportunities it deserves. Subsequently, I may believe that everything is hard because of that. I may start evaluating things from the standpoint of what's appropriate for a little nonprofit, and I may miss opportunities that could propel the organization forward.
It's all about your thinking
If you engage in small thinking, you subconsciously trap yourself into small fundraising and small growth (if any). Small thinking is restrictive. It squashes creativity. It values status quo.
Here are some signs that you may be engaging in small thinking:
- You use the words "little" and "just" to describe your nonprofit. ("We're just a little nonprofit.")
- You don't see your organization ever bringing in big gifts.
- You procrastinate on those things that you're uncomfortable doing.
- You blame your board for your lackluster fundraising results. ("If the board would just help …")
- You blame the economy for your fundraising results.
- You blame the competition. ("There are too many nonprofits competing for dollars. We'll never be able to raise much.")
When you engage in small thinking, your nonprofit is doomed to remain small. In other words, when you do what you've always done, you get what you always got. If you're happy with the amount of money you're raising, you can keep doing things the same way. But if you want to raise a lot more money and help more people or make a bigger impact in the world, you have to start thinking bigger. Remember: