Fundraising in small nonprofits is hard! There, we said it.
Well, actually, it's not so much that it's hard (yes, we know if feels that way), but that there is no time.
You are not alone in feeling like you're running on a small shop fundraising hamster wheel. This was the case for Diane, the ED of a great organization called Margaret's Housing and Community Support Services (affectionately "Margaret's"), that works to provide long-term housing and support to those living with mental illness. Amazing work with a huge impact! Although their organization has an annual budget of just over a million, their fundraising accounted for less than $100,000 of that annual revenue.
But, Diane didn't have fundraising staff. And all of that oh-so-enjoyable fundraising work fell on her already overflowing plate. And she felt stuck. And frustrated. And her passion for the work was slowly draining. If she didn't have time to do the work that fuelled her soul, how could she find time to fundraise - which felt like an icky obligation?
Diane was on the edge of burnout when we first met her. In fact, it was a donor of Margaret's who introduced her to The Good Partnership, because he knew how much fundraising support could help Margaret's deliver more great impact.
If Diane wanted to invest in fundraising, she had three options:
Keep rolling up her sleeves doing it herself. Clearly, this would not get any better results. What's that famous Einstein quote? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Not an option.
Hire a full-time junior fundraising staff. I say junior because she's a small organization with a modest budget. In an ideal world, they can afford an experienced fundraiser, but that's too much of a stretch right now. But to be honest, the thought of hiring, on-boarding, training and managing another staff person (who isn't very experienced) just pushed Diane closer to the point of burnout.
Outsource! Hire a team that specializes in fundraising for small nonprofits, at a price that is competitive with a junior fundraiser, but with much more experience, focus and expertise. No management, no payroll, no new computer or desk. Instead, she had a team that worked in partnership with her and her staff to build out a fundraising program without all of the worry that comes with building out a fundraising program.
Can you guess what Diane chose?
We started working with Diane and took Margaret's through a fundraising planning process, creating a 12 month fundraising plan with clear goals and deliverables each month.
Then, our team started implementing.
We set up a new database, systems and processes to get the organization ready to manage donations in a streamlined way, making sure that we could steward donors when gifts came in and beyond. We wrote new, donor-centered thank you letters. We collected client stories and created 12 months worth of donor newsletters. We wrote and implemented a donor appeal. We drafted engagement emails to major donors and sat alongside Diane as she pressed send from her computer. We created a concept for a major gift cultivation event, created the invite and booked a date. We met with an interested corporate partner and management the proposal and partnership activation process. We are doing all the things that are outlined in the plan.
And Diane just has to show up and talk passionately about her work.
I want to give you an example of our bi-weekly meetings with Diane. We take a look at the plan and what deliverables are due in the coming month. We give Diane an update on the status of all those items and sit with her as she reads and approves anything that we need to move things forward. We laugh. We chat. And then she goes back to her work.
Imagine raising money without the worry of fundraising.
Fundraising is our gift. We love it, not just for its transformative power to change the world, but because it feels really good to mobilize people for change.
It feels good to see you, our clients, doing the work you’re meant to do. It feels good to mobilize and empower donors to be the change they want to see in the world. It feels good to uplift our sector and empower small nonprofits to be better resourced. It feels good to help small organizations take better advantage of new tools, data and information to help them work smarter, not harder. It feels amazing to be part of the change you’re driving.
Stop struggling with fundraising. We’re good at it. And we can help you be good at it.
Be like Diane. Book a free consultation and outsource your fundraising to The Good Partnership.