It’s There—Waiting for You
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. Names are changed, of course!
Last week I had the pleasure of addressing a conference of nonprofit leaders. My topic was the abundance waiting for the nonprofit community. Far too often, nonprofit leaders adopt a scarcity mentality. There's never enough. There's more competition for philanthropic dollars subdividing a fixed pie.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The deep irony is the scarcity mindset is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It needn't be that way.
As it happens, I had an opportunity to demonstrate this that very day. During one of the breaks a delightful young woman introduced herself to me. She's the founder and chief executive of an embryonic charity to benefit disabled children through the arts.
Brenda sought my counsel concerning an upcoming visit with a potential significant donor. The connection was warm in that there was a general awareness on the part of the potential investor. The investor was known to have interests that potentially aligned, as well. There was also a network connection. Outside of all of this, however, there was, as yet, no firm commitment—even a modest one.
Brenda was armed and ready to ask Helen for an investment sufficient to fund an entire summer program. Helen was certainly capable. We know, that's only half the equation, however.
Brenda told me she had read a fairly popular book on solicitation. It's one of those that gives you a step-wise sales approach. I encouraged her to take a different tack.
Instead of coming at the potential investor full-bore with a pitch and an ask, however worthy, why not invert the paradigm? Use the initial meeting to become acquainted with Helen and the organization. Instead of asking Helen for money upfront, ask her, "What do you want to accomplish?" Accomplishment in life terms. Draw her out as to her values, her passions. I guaranteed Brenda that Helen will have mostly likely never been approached by a fundraiser in this manner.
Go prepared to ask, I told Brenda, but only if the opportunity presents itself.
At the end of our brief conversation, I told her that my fee for this counsel was a follow-up email on the outcome of her meeting, to take place later that week.
True to her word, I received an email from Brenda late one afternoon a few days later.
It couldn't have been better. Helen was so taken that someone would actually seek her interests, and with Brenda's efforts, she funded the entire summer program on the spot. Wow!
What's more, Brenda left having made a friend as well as acquired an investor in her cause.
Principle 1 of The Eight PrinciplesTM is Donors are the Drivers®. Donors drive philanthropy with their values and visions, not their money. Money is the outcome, not the goal.
The task for Brenda going forward will be to build that relationship—through trust and transparency. If she succeeds, there will be more resources coming her way—from Helen as well as others.
The test for durability will be Brenda's adherence to Principle 7 of The Eight PrinciplesTM, Renew & RefreshTM. Seek first to renew your current investors even as you reach out to refresh and expand those who invest in you.
I received a number of accolades for my message at the conference that day. And I am appreciative. Brenda's story and Helen's vision are why I do what I do, however.
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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