Raise More Money: Don’t Try to Avoid Looking Foolish
Bill wants to know how he can get this organization out of "perfection paralysis" and moving forward.
Make no mistake — volunteers' most valuable commodity is there time. When they're at the point of exasperation, as Bill is, those who have options — the volunteers you want — often exercise them and bolt. What you're left with are the seat warmers whose principal virtues are inaction and avoidance.
It is a fundamental arrogance when we (and that includes me!) believe that our situations are unique in the world and that our responses to cure what ails us are without flaw — or need to be.
Check the definitions of "unique" and "perfect." The first is: "like none other," "alone," "only," and the second is: "without flaw." In the world of human affairs, these terms just don't apply.
My solution is simple. The well-meaning organization's leadership must get over itself. Period.
OK, so that's sounds easy. How do you do it without alienating everyone in the room?
Bill's got a plan moving forward, and I'll share it with you later.
More than anything else, donors want realism. That's right. They don't believe you when you promise perfection.
Oh yes, such a claim will generate buzz. It will probably drive up your social media numbers. Is that what you want — a fleeting and noncommittal notice by others?
Decide whether you want a growing bottom line or bragging rights for hordes of followers as you hurdle toward extinction. Not that you can't have both, but don't conflate the two.
If you want to build a fundraising revenue stream that is virtually impervious to economic headwinds and navigates the unexpected loss of a single revenue source with nary a notice, then believe me when I say that donors are far more interested in you being real and human with them than in glossy, world-changing claims all the while selling them a discounted gift basket at your next event.
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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