Fundraising

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Nonprofits are a community’s collective response. To issues of unfairness, expressions of cultural pride, a means through which we care for one another.

They’re how we join together to right a wrong, to create a force for change that is greater than any of us can muster up individually.

Nonprofits are, in a word, leaders in their communities.

So when an earth-shattering occurrence takes place that promises to upend our future, as occurred with last week’s election, it doesn’t take long for nonprofits to move out in front, rising above daily programming to serve as a flash point for their community’s voice. 

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It provides a rallying cry for “Why Now.”

A “We’re All In This Together” peer motivator.

A deadline – so helpful as a “Get Off Your Chair and Get Going” procrastination-buster.

But it doesn’t help delineate the “Why Us” – the unique value that helps your nonprofit combat appeal fatigue and capture donor attention.

Which you need, to help your nonprofit stand out in a crowded sea of appeals all landing on the same day from a host of nonprofits – all using #GivingTuesday as the same rallying cry, peer motivator, and procrastination buster.

It’s the “Too Much Of A Good Thing” phenomenon. How do we stand out from the crowd on #GivingTuesday?

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There’s a phrase in management – the burning platform – that refers to a situation in which people are forced to act, because the alternative is worse. A crisis moment: we can’t stay where we are because the ship is burning up underneath our feet, so we have to jump (the actual impetus for the original metaphor).

The choices faced on a burning platform are powerful – an organization can’t maintain the status quo, so business as usual is not an option. What results is “immediate and radical change due to dire circumstances,” according to change management theory.

In nonprofits, this radical behavior change often includes fundraising. 

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What’s the worst that could happen?

The occurrence – sudden or adding up over time – that would simply topple your agency, from which you could never recover?

And do those worries keep you up at night?

But even more importantly – are these mounting concerns shared? Or is it you alone tossing and turning in your bed, unable to completely let these burdens go?

There’s a lot of talk about risk management in the nonprofit world today. One key question is whether the boardroom is a safe place where a chief executive can admit concerns, or whether that opens them up to too much criticism.

Is the boardroom culture warts-and-all – or is it the good news hour?

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What am I going to sell?

Nonprofit staff cringe when this plaint comes from board members. “Don’t they know how inspiring our work with kids is? What a difference it makes?”

Well, no. They don’t. Or they sorta do but not well enough to explain…field the questions that they’re sure will come…have the “take-your-breath-away” stat at their fingertips…know the zingers to throw in on top of the one anecdote they’ve memorized. And what you don’t know, you can’t sell.

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