Nonprofits are unique entities. Kind of like a wild, wild, west of sorts. There are very few rules, no instruction booklet on how things should go. There is no "one size fits all" approach. Each nonprofit must figure out its own way, based on the community it serves. These nonprofits must figure out how to operate, how to hire and retain good talent, and most importantly, how to sustain themselves. The vast differences in how funds are secured, how funds are reserved, and how some nonprofits have more than enough even though, while some well meaning, well-deserving nonprofits get crumbs if that really disturbs me.
As a visionary, grant writer, and capacity-building consultant, I have the unique ability and pleasure of seeing nonprofit pathways as well as their potential pitfalls. I have wonderful opportunities to professionally advise, share personal experiences, war stories, and the likes with my clients (and prospective clients). I am always amazed how different each client is, and how hard they work for the betterment of mankind. What is always frustrating to me though, is coming across young organizations, or not so young organizations that have failed to develop a plan to diversify their revenue streams. Nothing saddens me more to see an organization with all the untapped fundraising potential in the world failing to put the boots on the ground and go to battle. They kind of live year to year, with no real plan for the "what if" bumps in the road that nonprofits tend to have. It's sad and unfortunate, but not hopeless.
Nonprofits boards and executives that REFUSE to take the time to sit down and develop a nonprofit funding model to raise money for the charity of choice MAKES NO CENTS (or sense). Taking the time to develop an organizational fundraising is not only good business, but it's an obligation. If your organization isn't prepared for hard times, a down turn in the economy, another war, a government shut down, a community tragedy, or a cease in financial support from your largest donor, you are doing it all wrong. You can not survive with out funding diversification. Diversification includes:
Spend time strategically planning how to diversify your organizations resources. Failing to do so increases the likelihood of future hardships. Whatever could go wrong eventually will. Don't allow your fear or inexperience in fundraising eventually cause the organization you love so dearly to cease operating. Plan to diversify revenue as soon as possible. It's the only thing that makes cents!
About the Author:
Nikki Kirk has over 12 years of experience in management, grant writing, nonprofit program development, community economic development, and nonprofit management consulting.