Making the Most of Your FSP Investment
2. Bringing in the right FSP can be very beneficial to your nonprofit. Some of us like to be martyrs. “I can do it myself!” is our battle cry. But sometimes, we can’t. There may be an area that holds a great deal of promise that we aren’t (yet) proficient in. Or, if we take on anything else, we risk mistakes that ultimately can backfire on us.
Another reality in fundraising is turnover. As professionals, committed to a mission, we have an obligation to document important pieces of the job so if we aren’t around one day, the nonprofit can continue. I once had a boss who constantly asked me to document things “in case you are hit by a bus tonight.” Not a happy thought (at least not for me — for him, who knows?!), but very valid. Finding time to ensure your programs can continue almost without a hiccup if you are gone for any reason may be resolved by turning some work over to an FSP.
3. If an FSP isn’t returning value to your nonprofit, find an alternative solution. Don’t keep wasting money — but also don’t terminate an arrangement with an FSP unless you have a plan in place to continue that program via another means.
Not recontracting with the FSP that is writing, designing, printing and mailing your monthly direct-mail appeals, for example, without having a solid strategy for continuing to get direct mail of the same (or better) quality isn’t thrifty — it’s organizational suicide. The same applies to your e-mail provider, website manager or any other task you are using an FSP to complete.
Find an alternative (or know how you are going to get it done with your existing staff) before terminating an FSP. The money you raise is about your mission; your decision needs to be based on how you can return more money for the mission. That’s our bottom line as fundraisers.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.