Monday, December 12, 2011

Barrier to Earned Revenue: Cultural Change

Help the Resistance to Join the Cause
One of the biggest barriers non-profit organizations face in increasing their funding from earned income, is staff and volunteer resistance. In some cases, cultural resistance about asking for money or more money from customers, clients, or donors at non-profit organizations is so huge it curtails all discussion and results in significant income loss. In almost all cases, in every non-profit organization, you will encounter those who like the way things are now. This holds true even when it means you lack enough funding for your mission or even to pay them properly.

At Bok Towers Gardens, (read about their success with earned revenue in my new column, Your Profitable Non-profit) the support of the docents, who provided the house tours of Pinewood Estate, was the biggest hurdle they faced as they increased their income and attendance by 300 percent. In the new setup, instead of leading tours through the mansion, docents were assigned to various sites in the building. The docents preferred the old way of leading tours even as Bok Tower Gardens enjoyed wild success with the new approach. As a compromise that worked wonderfully, staff encouraged the docents to help visitors enjoy the mansion as they saw fit. If a group or individual were happy self-touring, they did not step in. If the visitors wanted more information, the docent created an on-the-spot experience.

After you identify great ideas to increase your income, expect resistance. When you encounter it, love people for their loyalty. Help them to understand how the change has the potential to impact your mission and funding. Explore compromises, like Bok Tower Gardens. Develop a plan to help the resistance join the cause.

What examples of cultural resistance, especially around earned revenue have you encountered? How have you overcome them?

No comments:

Post a Comment