Accentuate the Positive
A popular song from 1944 shared this timeless advice: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t mess with mister in-between!” Sung by Bing Crosby in the ’40s, Perry Como in the ’50s, Ella Fitzgerald in ’60s, and with covers in every decade following, the message stands the test of time.
For nonprofits, this means starting with a list of your organization’s positives and negatives. This list may be generated by staff and board members, but every nonprofit could really benefit from a more objective perspective. If you haven’t done it recently, enlisting an outside group to assess your strengths and barriers to advancement – from the public’s point of view – is a great idea.
Once that information is in hand, take these lessons to heart:
Accentuate the positive
Whatever you do well, double down on your efforts. Do people like that you participate in community events? Then, schedule more next year. Do they hold your executive director in high regard? Then, get events on the calendar for more presentations and appointments with existing and prospective donors. Put more energy into doing what you do well.
Eliminate the negative
Yes, it’s uncomfortable to hear that no one knows your board members, or that the public doesn’t have a clear understanding of your mission, or that your brand and signage need updating… or a dozen other things. But it’s good to hear what’s wrong. Use that information to get a game plan. If it doesn’t work, stop doing it.
Don’t mess with mister in-between
Focusing on a list of positives to accentuate and a list of negatives to eliminate will keep you busy and help you avoid spinning your wheels on projects that zap your time and resources without a commensurate upside. If it’s getting you nowhere, and taking a majority of your time and energy, it’s not worth doing.
If your nonprofit is ready to invest its time and resources wisely – as well as raise more money for the mission – consider having a professional help you assess, objectively, where you are now. It might not be where you think you are. That way, you can get where you should be by this time next year!
Bud Cooper, Executive Vice President, [email protected]
Join Us on the Growing Philanthropy Tour
Next stops on the road to achieving Kinetic’s mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:
February 1, 2019
IGNITE 2019: Conference
February 4-6, 2019
The Great Fundraising Masterclass
February 7-8, 2019
LSE Annual Behavioural Public Policy Lecture
February 12, 2019
2019 NSFA National Conference
Demystifying the Major Gift Campaign
March 4-6, 2019
Think Double! Fundraising Masterclass
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Kinetic President and CEO Matthew J. Beem’s book Performance-Driven Fundraising: Taking Control of Your Success shares decades of fundraising insights and features campaign success stories. Performance-Driven Fundraising will help accelerate anyone’s learning curve and serve as a valuable reference tool for new and seasoned fundraisers. Go here for 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, Philanthropy Success, contact [email protected].