Do You Invest in Capacity-Building?
There's a lot of talk these days about nonprofit costs and return on investment. There always has been. I imagine there always will be, too.
Some organizations — those in higher education and health care especially — have not been as timid as other nonprofits at investing in capacity building and paying more competitive salaries.
It seems business people recognize investing in a return and often don't shy away from doing the right thing for years — even with little or no margin or losses. They can see the potential of the big return on the horizon.
Nonprofits are a bit different because they are well aware that they hold a public trust and have an obligation to their generous donors and those they serve.
We find that it takes three to four years — and sometimes up to five years — to really develop a sophisticated fundraising program and have a large group of donors and cultivated major donors. By the same token, a sophisticated and established program can endure for two to three years with momentum before poor leadership or implementation takes its toll.
In most cases, if you want dramatic growth, you need to invest in capacity building to ramp up your fundraising and related programs. This includes the research and planning needed, additional resources for staffing, infrastructure including technology, and consultants to guide the process.
Best practices show it takes an investment of time and money and a commitment of focus to achieve transformational fundraising results. But isn't that what your mission deserves?
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.