When is an opportunity NOT an opportunity?

July 12, 2017

It’s crazy, isn’t it?

Your days are filled with the insanity of snail mail only grant applications with extensive attachments (the guidelines demand eight copies) for grants averaging $5,000. Your development chair is

excitedly emailing everyone on her contact list about the latest voting contest where the organization with the most votes stands to “win” $10,000. You’ve put in hours of manpower on the charity night at your local restaurant. And it nets a grand total of $350.

You have to get formal approval to enroll in a $77 training, and yet here you are — once again — finding yourself in the middle of a pointless meeting where the collective salaries for the hour amount to several hundred dollars.

And now your board chair’s niece knows someone who knows someone who knows Bill Gates. Have we applied to the Gates Foundation?

So, when is an “opportunity” not an opportunity?

Simple. When it takes you away from your plan.

Say you’re projecting to grow your online fundraising by 20% this year. Your focus needs to be on developing that free guide that will grow your email list – and writing a welcome series introducing your new prospect to your organization.

Your development plan is factoring in a growth in monthly donors from 75 to 150. It won’t happen by osmosis. Or by adding the option to your donate page. Segment your database and target donors for a monthly giving ask. Click here and scroll to September 26 for a short training from Erica Waasdorp.

You know your mission is one that resonates with foundation funders and you’ve already had some success. But you don’t have a dedicated grant writer. Or the time to deal with the challenges (and headaches) that come with writing, and managing, some of the bigger grants. So your focus will be on unearthing your region’s small to mid-sized foundations and developing a strong case for general operating support.

How are you measuring donor loyalty? How are you bringing in new donors? Once a supporter buys a ticket to that gala, what’s your plan for turning them into a donor?

Wishful thinking, planning to go viral, or wasting precious resources on hunger games contests won’t get you from here to there.

Time is money.

With a focused, diverse fundraising plan, you can grow your organization exponentially without selling your soul.

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