Getting It Right the First Time
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 (info@TheEightPrinciples.com) to receive quick consultations and perhaps have their particular problems addressed in a future article.
Today, I want to relate to you the situation of an executive director of a land trust who reached out to me. She finds herself at a crossroads for the organization she serves. For a number of years, this organization has been successful in acquiring land to place in trust — some would say very successful. During the last year or so, however, she's noticed a plateauing of interest and, also, in new donors to the cause.
Being a "take charge" kind of woman, the executive polled current and even potential new supporters to get their take on the organization, its work and why they're involved at all. What she learned was stunning — and a text-book case in generational shifts in philanthropy.
The forward-thinking director contacted me at the point when she wanted some guidance regarding a total repositioning of the organization both in regard to its mission and how it engages its supporters.
The place she wanted to begin this undertaking was typical. She wanted to change the organization's name. Upon changing the name, then she would proceed to "rebrand" its communications, expand the mission statement and then broaden the support base — in that order. She has good board support and intends to use the board appropriately along the way.
My response to her was, well-meaning as her intentions are, she was making a common mistake made by organizations when they make a mission or cultural shift. She wanted to start with the most obvious, most immediate place to make a change — the name.
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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