3 Lessons From a First-Time Nonprofit Founder

I run two business—a nonprofit, The First Fund, and a for-profit, Lesson.ly—so I spend plenty of time fundraising throughout the year. These three approaches have all been good to me.

The First Fund1. Put Your Dollars In First

The First Fund works to provide $1,000 scholarships to first-graders, while helping their parent(s) and/or guardian(s) save and plan for their child’s future.

When I needed to raise $10,000 for the First Fund last year, I started my fundraising efforts by opening my own checkbook and covering the first $1,000; then, I asked others to do the same.

In my experience, nothing convinces people like putting your money where your mouth is.

2. Use a CRM

Clients pay the bills in the for-profit world, so we invest in tools like CRMs to help us attract them, communicate with them, and retain them.

Donors pay the bills in the nonprofit world, so we invest in tools like CRMs to help us attract them, communicate with them, and retain them.

It is that simple.

3. Stay the Course

There are a lot of people with money in this world, but you don’t want to work with all of them. Find the people who understand your mission and let all the others donate somewhere else.

I’ve had plenty of conversations with folks who are interested in The First Fund but don’t want to donate because they think our ”college isn’t for everyone” mind-set is fundamentally wrong. To them, I respectfully say, “Thanks, but we gotta go.”

Letting your mission bend to the will of a donor is a slippery slope—one that hurts a lot when you finally hit the ground. Avoid it, and stay your course.

max-ltv-cta

Max Yoder

Max Yoder

Co-Founder at Lessonly
Max Yoder is founding director of The First Fund and co-founder of Lesson.ly, the teaching and learning application for employee onboarding, customer service training, and sales enablement training.
Max Yoder
Max Yoder

Latest posts by Max Yoder (see all)

By |2017-06-10T19:41:25-05:00March 5th, 2014|Nonprofit Management|

Leave A Comment