Do you know where your organization is headed? Are you steadily moving in the same direction all the time or are you all over the place? More importantly, are your activities in line with who you say you are and what you say you do?
You see, in terms of dollars and donors, if your program isn’t very closely in synch with with your mission, you’ve got trouble. You have to be headed in one direction without deviation.
You should be able to answer the following questions without hesitation:
What are you raising money for? Why?
Who are you raising money from? Why?
How do you do your fundraising? Why?
These 3 questions should act as your compass to help you when it’s time to make decisions and then stick to them. They tell you where to allocate resources and what issues are important enough to embrace as a team. And they dictate the relationship you’ll have with your donors.
Do you know what you’re raising money for and why? If not, isn’t it fair to ask how you hope to make a case to your donors and prospects for investing their dollars in your cause? By the way, if you’re thinking that your answer might be to run your operation, that’s the wrong answer. A better one would be to tell your audience how you are helping to change the world. Tell them how you are making that change and why you are focusing your budget on specific things.
In other words, you should be able to tell a potential donor exactly what their money will make possible and where the organization can go with their help.
Are you ready to make difficult decisions about your target audience? It’s great to say you’re going to raise money from everyone, but that’s practical only if you have money to burn. Your donor base should be a reflection of your needs and values. Do you want a large number of lower value donors who can advocate for your cause across a broad base or do you want a handful of major donors who can move the needle quickly and easily for your organization? Do you want to give your constituents many opportunities to participate as donors? Are there specific people who must be involved in giving to your nonprofit if your fundraising program is to be successful?
In my opinion, here’s what you want to remember: people, not dollars, are the heart of your development efforts. How does your relationship with them further your mission and advance your shared values?
In what direction is your organizational compass pointed?