Getting Your Luck to Hold: Attaining Sustainable Revenue
Have a fundraising challenge you want to crack? Weary of doing the same old, same old yet hoping for different outcomes? Do you want the over-the-top results that come from superior strategy?
Email me with your particular problem, and I’ll arrange a quick consultation offering you a practical solution you can implement. I may even use your situation to share with my readers.
Julie reached out to me a few weeks back to share a situation at her health-related nonprofit. She began by telling me an initial blockbuster success her organization recently had experienced with its first attempt at seeking “major” gifts.
Julie is a seasoned executive director—with the battle scars to prove it. I liked her the moment we connected on the phone.
It seems some of her donors were just waiting to be asked—and to say “Yes!”
I really like it when I hear good news! “Yes,” she said, these gifts were indeed welcome and much needed.
But at that point, her tone changed. Her concern was in repeating these gifts. I responded by telling her that “major” gifts by their very nature are one-up affairs—even though the same donor may make a similar, or even larger, gift at some point in the future.
(At this point you may be wondering why I keep putting “major” in quotes. That’s because the term is inaccurate at best and downright misleading at worst. More on that at another time. For the time being, I’ll stick with conventional terminology.)
Julie knows the recent large investments her organization received aren’t repeatable in the literal sense. Her concern comes from how they were received.
Julie shared with me in confidence her development officer sees these gifts as the surefire sign that “major” giving (there’s that word again) has fundamentally altered her organization’s revenue landscape. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. The pressure’s off.
Happy days are here again. And why not?
In case you haven’t noticed, “major” gifts are the new hot trend in fundraising. Seems everyone is or wants to be in them. They're the new sure-fire diet that will lose those extra pounds for you while giving you the energy of a track star. I counted more than a dozen emails I’ve received this week offering me the secrets of how major gifts can solve my fundraising challenges.
Sound unrealistic? It is.
It’s the next shiny thing, as planned giving was two years back, and as capital campaigns were the year before that. Oh—and somewhere in there was social media. Hmm, was that 2013?
Fundraising programs, which deliver sustainable revenue and scale are the product of lifestyles, not diets. You live these. You’re not following the latest trend.
Any organization can create a fundraising program, which sustains and scales. Any organization.
It’s done by focusing on a lifestyle, on a way of thinking—not relying on the fundraising vehicle currently in vogue.
Julie wanted to know what she should do about her development officer—someone whom she inherited. He apparently sees fundraising as a sprint rather than a marathon.
I asked her some particulars of her situation, which enabled me to give her some direct and pointed advice. Since I can’t get into the personnel details, suffice it to say I recommended she create a performance program that takes the “lifestyle” view rather than the diet.
I extend my sincere thanks to Julie for reaching out and sharing her situation.
Let me hear from you. Please share your situation and the challenges you face in developing sustainable revenue streams. Email me, and I’ll arrange a brief consult providing you with practical guidance. I’ll choose some of these thorny obstacles to share, along with my insights, in upcoming columns.
Success is waiting. Go out and achieve it.
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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