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Rising to the Top in Your Community

Rising to the Top in Your Community

Milk and cream:  two yummy parts of what a cow produces . Left on a counter for 12-24 hours, fresh milk naturally separates into a high-fat cream layer on top, leaving a larger, low-fat milk layer on the bottom.

Where is this moooving metaphor going? This natural process reminds me of a trend I am tracking in the not-for-profit world.

The not-for-profit world is experiencing similar separation these days. The organizations that rise to the top are doing a better job of communicating, engaging and raising money from their communities. Unlike the cream they emulate however, these non-profit’s aren’t doing this work on their own.  More and more not-for-profits are knocking at my door, and at the door of other consultants because they want to build:

  • Better communication tools to connect with their donors;
  • Professionally crafted Cases for Support to engage potential donors, and;
  • A fundraising culture that translates raising money into an organizational priority (rather than a development office priority).

Interestingly, I find that it’s not the size of the organization that determines whether it’s in the “cream” or the “low-fat milk” category, but rather how well it is able to focus and adapt to its environment. Other factors include the revised, more stringent Canada Revenue Agency regulations that are squeezing out some of the “old tyme mom and pop” charities that have the very best of intentions, but who are either unable or unwilling to adapt to the new reality that charities are competing for the Canadian charitable dollar.

Is your organization rising to the top?

Are you high fat cream or low-fat milk? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my organization open to making changes to adapt  in a timely manner to trends?
  • Are new ideas and suggestions explored and considered before they are dismissed as not appropriate?
  • Do your staff and board members completely understand the complicated and integrated mechanism that is called fundraising?

These are tough questions.  If you really do believe in the impact that your organization is making in the community then you owe it to yourselves, and to your participants, to be open to change. If you need some help getting started, I am always here to help.

Photo Credit: flickr user kthread

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