Recently, I met with a group of nonprofit leaders as a part of Nonprofit Montgomery‘s “Development Directors Table for Ten” program, where group members expressed their burning issues and challenges in working with their nonprofit boards. One theme that struck me is how some expressed that their board members and founders tended “to chase shiny objects.”
What happens when we chase shiny objects? We become distracted from the immediate work in front of us that needs to be done.The long-term fundraising needs of the nonprofit can suffer. When everyone drops what they are doing to chase the prospective donor that looks like “the shiny object,” current major donor stewardship can suffer. That’s not to say there may be a legitimate opportunity to cultivate a new major donor. This effort should be planned out and assigned to the right staff person or board member.
Examples also included a sudden desire to start a new program without researching other similar existing programs or evaluating the potential impact of the new program, diving into a new technology system without thinking through the cost/benefit analysis, or jumping into a marketing campaign to raise funds without thinking through the time investment required and all the steps needed to perform the campaign properly. Another one was “we need more money now, let’s hold a big event next month!” Oh, no. Please don’t.
For effective fundraising, nonprofits need the long-term strategy in place and invest in the proper infrastructure to make it happen. Sustainability is key, and that involves thoughtful financial planning to keep the nonprofit’s engine humming and doing the good work it was meant to do. Do you agree? I’d love to hear from you!