Keystone Cops to the Rescue
In these columns I address real-life obstacles and challenges that nonprofits face in creating sustainable funding to deliver their missions and achieve their goals. Readers write via email to receive a quick consultation and perhaps have their particular problems addressed in these columns.
As a thank-you to my readers, from now through the end of the year, I am sending a complimentary copy of my book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising," to the reader whose situation is used in each week's article.
Many of my readers will be too young to know — much less remember — the "Keystone Cops." The Keystones, a fictional squad of incompetent policemen featured in silent film comedies in the early 20th century, were the invention of director and actor Mack Sennett. This confused collection of constables has since come to symbolize any group characterized by frenetic activity and a lack of coordination.
The image of the Keystones immediately came to mind as I read the email I received last week from the bewildered program director of a midsize social service agency in the Southeast. Jill described a situation that, unfortunately, is becoming all too common in this era of reduced and constrained public and institutional funding.
Recently at Jill's agency, the executive director, supported by the board chair, announced that each program director would be responsible for fundraising for his or her program. Just like that. None of the program directors were hired with fundraising explicitly in their job descriptions, and now they were being told that the survival of their programs essentially rested upon their shoulders.
I'm a strong advocate for the notion that everyone is, at some level, a fundraiser in a nonprofit. Ensuring sufficient revenue to deliver on the mission is everyone's business. Suddenly making the program personnel responsible for the life or death of their programs, to go out and get the funds or else, is problematic, however. Faced with a significant drop in funding from a public source and a foundation, this was management's knee-jerk reaction.
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.
Reach Larry on social media at: