Organizational Growth: Taking Your Nonprofit to the Next Level
2. A general adversity and deep loathing of “change” of any kind. It’s human nature to some extent, and while it’s one of the key brick walls organizations hit, it’s also the easiest to overcome. Ask yourself, if you don’t change, what becomes of the mission you serve? If you are unwilling to see a future in which you are different, operate differently, perform differently, does it affect your organization’s ability to one day close its doors and go home? When you take a moment and consider the alternative, it becomes a little easier to accept that changing your organization really can change the world.
3. The leap organizations need to take with their donor files. Also a growth killer. The larger we become and the broader and less personal our marketing efforts have to be just due to size and management, the more people will complain. If your team, you or your board isn’t prepared to swallow that fact and build infrastructure to mitigate it, you become a program of one. You allow a very loud, single, angry donor or maybe a few donors you were able to have a more personal relationship with set the path of your program.
And before you try to tell me I don’t care about donor service … quite the contrary. We should absolutely be accountable to our supporters, responsive to their questions, respectful of their requests and transparent in our actions. But donors should not drive strategy, communications standards and overall program direction. Our job is to hire very smart people who know how to build these things and provide strong customer/donor support simultaneously to continue to grow.
It’s another one of those things that’s shocking to me: A nonprofit is willing to give up exponential growth opportunities to the voice of a few. With flag codes, analytics, donor modeling, inbound call centers and an influx of consumer experts into our world, it absolutely, positively does not have to be either/or.
So, I'm a fundraiser having a mid-life crisis. And that's perfectly fine with me.
I am taking time to look around, lift my head and find REAL people who really want to change the world. And people smart enough to do it. Join me in this fun journey. I have no idea where we will end up - and that is the beauty of it. I'm nonprofit passionate, a hopeful world changer, and always ready to share what I know, learn what I don't, admit when I can't, and ask the hard questions.
While you're looking around for other areas of inspiration, check out The Moth Project at themoth.org (the podcasts are AMAZING), TED talks (doesn't matter which ones - find topics that interest you) and Volunteer Voices (again - love the podcast) written by volunteers from the Peace Corps. Don't see the immediate connection to being a better fundraiser? Just listen, you'll hear the message ...