Grappling With Growth
Not going anywhere
One of the clear advantages to being a 100-year-old organization, Aschermann says, is standing out in the glut of information available on the Internet, which can work both for and against the organization.
“The difference between fundraising in 2006 and 10 years ago is the incredible explosion of information. Each donor now is his own research department,” he says. “In the old days, people contributed to an organization because their parents did or because they were affected by it somehow. Back then, to learn more about BGCA, you had to call. Now, donors have information at their fingertips.”
Pre-Internet, BGCA competed primarily with Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
“Now, we’re competing with the local garden club,” Aschermann says. “The Internet makes your competition broader, especially as donors use the discretionary dollar much more judiciously.”
Aschermann estimates there are about 36,000 new nonprofits receiving charters a year.
“We exponentially add competitors every month, which is why a communications strategy is so important to your development strategy,” he says. “From a national perspective, our biggest challenge is helping our local clubs get better at business and development. That’s the biggest challenge for nonprofits with affiliates.”