Listen to any conference speaker, self-help guru or tech entrepreneur and you are sure to hear about their failures. Of course, they are speaking because they turned their failures into lessons that helped them succeed. Can you imagine going to a funder and telling them that you had to close down your last nonprofit due to lack of money but this time you knew how to handle their 7-figure gift? Can nonprofits turn previous failures into future success? Of course, saying you have changed the way you run your organization is not enough. You need to “walk the walk as well as talk the talk.”
- Show that you now have a strong case for giving and are only approaching the right people at the right time.
- Prove you have learned your lesson by talking about your new and detailed focus on acknowledgements.
- Demonstrate that you understand stewardship for each and every donor and each and every gift.
What are other areas that nonprofits ignore that can be turned around to prove success?
- Donor Retention
- Annual fund donor and prospect segmentation
- Expanding/Developing a monthly giving program
- Expanding/Developing a planned giving program
- Only getting in touch with donors when it is time to ask for money
- Goal setting and result monitoring
- Missing signals that people want to get more involved in your organization
- Talking about the nonprofit’s goals instead of the donor’s goals
- Allowing board members to disrupt meetings and progress
- Upgrading donors
- Strategic Plan in place with development at the core
- Ignoring donors who give smaller gifts
- Running board meetings that are inefficient, ineffectual, and too long
- Assuming that doing the same thing next year will get you better results
To some this list may seem overwhelming. To others, it will highlight areas on which to focus or tweak in the coming year. Either way, turning previously missed opportunities into growth and prosperity will sustain your nonprofit. And, it will be something positive to talk about to current and prospective funders. Showing that you are learning and growing is something everyone can get excited about. Please let us know if we can help you improve your nonprofit by emailing Abigail Harmon.