It's Your Turn: Moving Your Fundraising From the Emergency Room to the Wellness Clinic
No one wants to be in the emergency room. No one. It's a place where the desperately ill and seriously injured can receive the immediate attention they need. The wellness clinic — the place where we go to reduce the need for an emergency room — is a much more desirable place to be.
Many nonprofits have taken up semi-permanent residence in a sort of financial emergency room. Lurching from acute condition to near crisis and back again, they don't see a way out. The deep irony is that this crippling cycle can be avoided — entirely.
Nonprofit financial nirvana is a steady, predictable stream of revenue — a revenue stream that is sufficient to meet immediate operating needs while scaling, enabling the organization to grow and prosper, becoming ever more effective in delivering its essential mission.
Unfortunately, very few of the nation's 1.5 million charitable organizations ever attain this — or get even close. Only a third have the minimum cash reserve considered essential for baseline financial stability, six months.
You are on the front lines of this struggle. As a fundraiser, you are often the one charged with saving the day (or else!).
In the coming weeks, we'll explore what it means to be either in the financial emergency room or the wellness clinic, and how to avoid going to the former while making meaningful visits to the latter.
Nonprofits derive their revenue from a variety of sources. Fee-for-service, which includes gate fees, membership dues, contract research, medical and social services. Public funding with direct grants, either block or program-specific, is another source. Income from an ancillary business enterprise either wholly or partially owned is another stream of revenue.
Finally, there's philanthropy. Sooner or later, it comes down to fundraising. There's the dreaded word. How much and how often will vary from organization to organization, but fundraising is almost always a component of a nonprofit's revenue mix. For many, if not most, it is the critical component.
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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