Reframing Your Nonprofit’s Work
Growing up, I had a couple of courses in woodshop. I learned life lessons in that class as well as how to work with wood effectively.
The life lessons I’ll save for another time. One thing I learned about wood was the most effective way to cut and shape it.
You might think that the best way to saw wood would be with the grain. Actually, that’s the worst. Sawing with the grain often results in splits and a spoiled project. (It can also be dangerous if you’re using a high speed saw.)
You always cut across the grain.
When you’re building a fundraising program, it’s never a good idea simply to go with the grain. That is to adopt the methods and techniques that you see others doing. The reason is simple. Methods are, by definition, situational. What works elsewhere probably won’t work in the same way in your situation.
Executives and their development folks make this mistake all the time. “Well, I saw such-and-such method generate lots at (name a place.)”
Instead, think of reframing your work into two parts. First, learn the natural laws of philanthropy, then filter those through your organization’s paradigm — their particular worldview. Once you’ve done this, the methods you’ll need to execute the tactics will be obvious.
The result? Permanent, growing success today and tomorrow. No need to follow someone else’s star. You’ll know the way to reach yours.
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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