Friday, January 13, 2012

Five Reasons to Refresh Your Non-profit Organization’s Funding Strategy

What is “refreshing your non-profit funding strategy”? It’s gathering and studying your non-profit organization’s income opportunities for evaluation before selecting the excellent ones to pursue. Why is this helpful? We find five major benefits for non-profit organizations:

1. Fresh Motivation. Is it hard to motivate someone to chair your “tried and true” special event? Frankly, it is hard to motivate yourself to get an annual appeal letter ready? Or, call potential sponsors? If you are bored by how you obtain income, chances are you are not alone. While some work maybe a tad dull and starting anything requires a bit of a leap over inertia, fresh clarity and an improved certainty of outcomes makes every job easier. Because you can see they will work, refreshed funding strategies excite and motivate.

2. Get With the Times. Even if you wish it wasn’t so, the market where non-profit organizations operate changed dramatically in the last five years. Every one of your funding streams experienced changes. It is smart to acknowledge this reality. Yet, even though my crystal ball broke, in the shards I see continue to see incredible opportunity. Donors, customers, volunteers, and board members continue to develop new expectations about their funding relationships with you: new expectations that yield new opportunities. It’s smart to study the impact of changes to reduce and eliminate unpleasant surprises— and to take advantage of new opportunities.

3. Embrace the Best. Even if at times you feel stuck identifying funding opportunities, the truth is this: you have too many opportunities. Your greatest need is to know where to invest your time and discard efforts for so-so opportunities, as soon as possible. You need funding strategies that provide the most outcomes (money or resources) with the least work –over time. Refreshing your funding strategies helps you to identify these vital opportunities.

4. Educate. Your funding strategy may fit your nonprofit and organization’s skills and community perfectly. However, it is highly likely many near you do not understand it or “the why” behind it. If you hear a lot of far-fetched ideas, refreshing your funding strategy can help the sharers to move their energy to your strategy and away from collecting wacky ideas, since they seek to help. On the other hand, if you hear worthwhile ideas, refreshing your funding strategy is the place to air and evaluate options using rational criteria and to compare them to your existing efforts—rather than making a quick decision in the hallway between meetings.

5. Lost Funding. The number one reason to refresh your funding strategy is because you are missing opportunities to increase your funds. Enough said.

What benefits have you found from refreshing your funding strategy?

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