Monday, December 6, 2010

Want Money? A Basic Toolkit

What lies between you and income for your nonprofit? Here are eight key glass-shattering tools to use to break the glass between you and the income your organization needs:

Board Credibility. When you list your board members, do people nod and indicate their respect? Do you have a nominating committee looking at board member recruitment for this year and future years?

Ask. Does anyone ask anyone for money? Both passively (i.e., a written request) and in person, “Will you donate to the annual appeal this year?”

Realistic Ideas and Actions. You have neither too many fundraising ideas (they swarm around you like mosquitoes at dusk) or too few (the same old, tried, true—and boring). Instead, you have two or three that energize you, your board and staff. One stands out. It’s ripe. In ink, you schedule time to bring it to completion.

Work Quality. You produce results worthy of investment whether you call them outcomes, outputs or products. These change people’s lives. You offer donors the chance to participate in helping to make those changes.

No Secret. There is good word about you “on the street.” People talk about your efforts and create a positive buzz. This is no accident or byproduct. You intentionally let people know about your important work. You are never too busy to get the word out.

Strategy for Us. Your strategy embraces a community. In return, it invites that community to embrace you monetarily and with their esteem. A neighborhood school’s community is both the families it serves and the neighborhood. If you’re a parenting education program you’re “them” includes parents and all people in the your service area who care about children and families.

Sustainability. You have a long haul plan to thrive. Donors who invest in you today or include you in their estate plans recognize both as worthwhile investments.

Partnerships. While you might do it alone, you recognize that partners enhance resources, bring new dimensions to your work and provide your customers better outcomes. You help those who invest with you to understand that you provide a “match” to their gifts through partnerships. “If you give us $10 in cash, we turn that into $100 of service with our various partnerships.”

Use these glass-shattering tools to raise your organization to reach through he glass ceiling that keeps you away from earning the money you need to meet your mission. For more help regarding income, see our Money-tastic Audio Series at and sign-up for our Monthly Newsletter Added Value.

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