An “Immature” 30-Year-Old Ministry

Sections of this topic

    Before anyone gets insulted, a “mature” nonprofit has a strategic plan, a development plan and, even, a marketing plan. They have a budget and they know where the money is coming from to fund that budget. An “immature” nonprofit, on the other hand, doesn’t….

    In a recent email, the writer said that she had been approached by a 30-year-old local ministry, a home for pregnant unwed mothers, where they can learn parenting skills and/or contemplate adoption. And, all who work for the home are self-funded “missionaries.”

    That being said, the home is the greatest secret in our area because they are all over-worked, spread very thinly, and have no time to do much in the context of development — networking or building ongoing “giving” relationships. They are, obviously, in great need of someone to do donor relations/development/fundraising.

    Currently they have 3 small fundraiser type events each year. They don’t even have a database to share their message, nor do they have the time to get the message out to potential donors or the community as a whole.

    The writer further said: My family is personally invested in this ministry, as we adopted a child through them. Having said all that, they asked if I would consider helping them (raise money) for a percentage. I know enough to know that is not good practice. As much as I would love to volunteer to assist them, I cannot. Could you provide any creative thoughts or ideas of how I could help make this a win-win for everyone?
    First, to react to the hot-button issue, it’s not only not a good practice, it is considered unethical for anyone to be compensated with a percentage of funds that they raise.

    And, as I’ve often written, (three small) fundraiser events (each year) are OK for new organizations … as they build their database of event participants and donors, but a 30-year-old organization should be more “mature” in their operations. Those nonprofits that live from hand to mouth never know when the mouth may become to big for the hand, and reliance on fundraising events puts an organization’s health/future at risk.

    Addressing their need for fundraising, if they ever want to be able to provide service to more people, they will probably have to hirie a development staff person … who would be compensated by salary. That staff person would have to bring development experience and expertise to the job, as it’s likely that s/he will not get much help from the “missionaries.”

    The “missionaries” (or some other volunteer) should invest some time to identify and establish relationships with potential major donors, donors who could provide initial funding for that staff person.

    It’s a simple answer to what I am sure is a serious problem, but if the organization is to grow, or even just survive, an investment must be made.

    Have you heard about
    The Fundraising Series of ebooks?
    They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99-$4.99)
    The ebook on “Major Gifts” would further address
    the issues in this posting.

    Have a comment or a question about starting, evaluating
    or expanding your fundraising program?

    We’ve been posting these pieces for the last five years,
    and we welcome your questions/problems.
    They are likely to engender further discussion.
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Comments & Questions


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