[Strategies for Success - Smart fundraising ideas from Hartsook]

July 25, 2017

No Margin, No Mission

imageToo often, nonprofits that really need more funding "right now" may have a harder time raising money than those that have funding available for their current needs and some margin for the unexpected.

Even if organizations have similar, equally compelling missions, the nonprofit in greatest financial need often will have a harder time raising gifts than the one with all its ducks in a row.

Why is this, and how can you ensure your organization is financially secure and, therefore, more likely to be the recipient of major gifts? Here are a few tips:

No margin, no mission. Whenever an organization raises money out of its need, it could be perceived as a way of saying clients are not receiving all the services they should or at the highest level possible. When there is no financial margin, fundraising becomes the mission, and that is never what you want.

Major gifts are major. If your nonprofit believes: "We just need 1,000 donors to give $100" or "We need to raffle something" or "We need to do three events (and hope someone gives)" - it probably is time to change strategies. Research shows that 10% of nonprofits' donors give 90% of its gifts. If your top donors are not giving major gifts, building a financial margin will always be a challenge.

Client-centered fundraising. Your organization does not need money; your clients need services. Your organization does not need a new building; your clients need a more accessible location. Keep your requests client-centered, rather than organization-centered.

Sometimes, nonprofits will continue to "try harder," using the same strategies over and over. If you have no margin in your budget and want to change that, you may need to fundraise smarter, not harder. You probably need a fresh perspective and some new, proven strategies that can help you build margin, so you can get back to your mission.

Bud Cooper, Executive Vice President (Kansas City) [email protected]


logoJoin Us on the Growing Philanthropy Tour

Next stops on the road to achieving Hartsook's mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:

August 2, 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Massive Fundraising
Adrian Sargeant

Kansas City
August 14, 2017

Inspired Fundraising Summit 2017
Presented by Hartsook
Roger Craver, author/editor, The Agitator
Jen Shang
Adrian Sargeant

Durham, N.C.
August 17, 2017

2017 NC Philanthropy Conference
Estate Giving
Karin Cox
Janell Johnson

August 23-25, 2017

Top Hands
Boy Scouts of America
Ross Pfannenstiel
Jason Wood

Oklahoma City
August 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Relationship Building: Where Do We Go From Here?
Adrian Sargeant

Rogers, Ark.
September 20, 2017

AFP of Northwest Arkansas
Matthew J. Beem

September 21-22, 2017

Blackbaud Executive Summit, University of London
Adrian Sargeant

Las Vegas
September 26-28, 2017

14th Annual Association of Donor Relations Professionals International Conference
Adrian Sargeant

Quincy, Ill.
October 12, 2017

Tri-State Area Fundraising Professionals Board
Janell Johnson

Scotland, U.K.
October 23-25, 2017

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass
Adrian Sargeant

Kansas City
October 26, 2017

Nonprofit Connect
Building a Culture of Philanthropy
Karin Cox

Wichita, Kan.
November 16, 2017

AFP Greater Wichita Chapter
Supporting Sponsor: Hartsook

Scotland, U.K.
February 7-9, 2018 

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass
Adrian Sargeant

February 28-March 3, 2018

ALDE IGNITE International Conference
Massive Fundraising
Adrian Sargeant

Past Stops on the Tour

Resources for Smart Fundraising Available on Kindle

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Getting Your Ducks in a Row! Proven Strategies for Exceeding Your Capital, Endowment and Operating Campaign Goals (ASR Media) brings together authors and resources, providing a toolbox of strategies for campaign fundraising. Go here to purchase this book at a special price of $10 (plus shipping and handling).

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Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, [email protected]. If you'd like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, eHartsook on Philanthropy, contact [email protected].

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