Breaking the (Glass) Ceiling
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You've got good cash flow and a typical mix of donors by giving-capacity. You're getting good outcomes. You've got stable financials. Giving moves toward your all-time annual high of $5 million. It's poised to go over. Then it stalls or drops.
You've been close to breaking the barrier of $5 million several times, then you lose a high-cash donor—or two. They leave for good reasons. Someone dies. Another shifts the focus of their giving. Still another suffers a family crisis or financial setback. The cycle repeats.
This is the situation of the faith-based organization for which Susan serves as executive director.
There are many nonprofits that would enjoy stable incoming revenue, much less break an arbitrary benchmark in fundraising.
Susan attributed her organization's situation to a small potential donor base. I don't necessarily see it that way.
In the few minutes we spoke on the phone, I wasn't able to do a thorough analysis, but I did pick up a few clues.
First, although Susan's organization has a good mix of donors relative to their giving capacity, the overall base is small. The loss of cash gifts from one or two fairly sizable donors will be felt.
I'm not convinced that the size of her potential donor base is as small as she thinks, however.
She did tell me about the appreciation events they have for their middle and upper-level donors. I didn't hear much about her strategies to grow the more modest ones. Nor did I hear a description of an organized donor acquisition program.
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
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