Next Year Never Comes for Nonprofits
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Why do what needs to be done now when you can just do it next year?
Next year we will be able to raise more money. Next year we will be able to put that in the budget. Next year we will start an annual fund. Next year we will build better relationships with our major gift donors. Next year we will hire the fundraiser that we need.
Any of that sound familiar?
In my frequent interactions with nonprofits, I often hear that next year will be when they’ll obtain the resources they truly need to raise more money, better fulfill their mission, and provide a much more efficient foundation for success going forward.
I recently talked to a group the other day who is finally going to make the commitment to strengthen donor relationships with a new donor database by putting that expense in the 2017 budget. Yikes.
The truth is next year never comes. Paralyzed by indecision and a lack of understanding in the true return on investment and cost justification, many nonprofits are unable or unwilling to create success by making good decisions now that will truly be an investment in their success going forward.
Ask yourself: ‘Where do you envision your nonprofit being one year from right now?’ Do you envision:
1. Raising more money and retaining more donors?
The old adage is true: it takes money to make money. In the nonprofit world, investing in tools that allow you and your staff to be more efficient, better communicate with donors and strengthen relationships will pay off in the long-term.
You must have a tool that will help analyze and interpret your data to better retain donors. Excel can’t do this. When you understand why and how your donors give, you can make it happen again and again.
2. Strengthening relationships with your major gift donors and prospects?
Tools to help you determine WHO are your major gift donors are and the POTENTIAL they have to give are essential to any major gift program. Finding or approaching two or three prospects who can give or will increase their gift will easily pay for this investment and bring in more dollars for your mission…but, we will start doing that next year.
3. Improving your own company culture?
Investment in tools that will help ensure success next year improves your nonprofits internal culture! Keeps your employee retention high! Attracts the high energy successful fundraisers! Creates a culture that is innovative and brings fresh prospective. ‘Putting it in next year’s budget’ will mean more of your current employees resumes will be updated…
P.S.: board members need to understand this as well!
Most boards are filled with successful business people who understand that many of the same principles they used to create a successful for-profit business translate perfectly to a nonprofit venture! If your board members aren’t willing to invest in the future, you might not want to invest in them.
So, will you get started right away, or wait another year?