publication date: Oct 12, 2011
author/source: Jonathon Grapsas
The easiest way to raise more money than last year is to do
what you did previously, but just a little better. The hardest way to raise
more money this year and in the next few years is to commit to serious
investment, accept that some things will fail, learn from the best, try new
stuff and commit to a rollercoaster of change.
Most organizations tend to accept the status quo and run
with the former. That's fair enough. There's no shame in raising more money
than the year before, even if it's a marginal increase. If more people are
helped, then that's a good result.
But I'm annoyed by those in what I'd call "change limbo."
You know the types - they used to be indecisive, now they're not so sure. They
say they want change, talk a big game but can't commit it to or aren't able to
make it happen. They make lots of noise, but there's little movement.
This is really frustrating for everyone involved: you, your
board, your boss, your partners. If you'd spent that time invested in trying to
change on improving the basics of your fundraising program instead, then you'd
have been better off.
So what are the warning signs that you could be barking up
the wrong tree when looking to move the goal posts significantly and drive
organization that's a serial rejecter of new ideas.
been told up the chain "we're interested in trying that, but can you show us
someone else who's done it?"
a revolving door in the development/fundraising team.
are other red flags, and one or some of the above can be overcome. They're just
warning signs, not complete roadblocks.
My point? Change for the sake of change isn't a good thing.
An effort to do things differently knowing full well that it won't happen is a
waste of everyone's time and a disservice to your benefactors.
If you're serious about working for an organization that
truly wants to flip things on its head, here are a few tips.
Do your homework
before you arrive.
Ask tough questions during the interview process. Look at any available external
evidence or data that demonstrates the organization's track record in testing, investing,
and trying new things.
Plant some seeds. Try out something
that hasn't been done before, on a really small scale. You'll soon find out
what the organization's appetite is for growth and innovation, particularly if
Always test. Empirical data is
difficult to argue with. Showing your board, boss and donors why you've done
something new and the results you attained can break down the wall of resistance.
"We tested it" are three very powerful words.
Benchmark. Share, compare and
learn from others. Introducing ideas, inspiration and data from those
around you is a sure-fire way to fuel growth.
you're comfortable ticking along at just above last year's level, that's great.
But if you're looking for a steep growth trajectory, then commit to
change. Or simply forget it.
Jonathon Grapsas is the founder and director at flat
earth direct, an agency dedicated to fundraising and campaigning for good
causes. Jonathon spends his time working with charities around the world
focused on digital, direct response and campaigning stuff.
If you'd like to chat to Jonathon you can drop
him a line, follow him on twitter or
check out www.flatearthdirect.com