A reader’s comment to my post Storytelling In The Digital Age got me thinking about the things fundraisers say ‘Yes’ to and those that trigger a ‘No’.

In this case, the reader commented, “Would like to get Julia’s book, but Amazon’s $38.73 price is out of my nonprofit range.”

I’m sure Joe is sincere and his organization, like so many, may not even have a budget for books, and training sessions. But I also know that for others ‘cost’ is often the main reason for saying ‘No’, thus quickly dismissing or passing up opportunities that could benefit the fundraiser and her organization.

This miserly mindset on the part of far too many nonprofits is professionally self-limiting and organizationally self-destructive.

Don’t let budget bar your path to growth. Here are five low-cost/no-cost activities that every fundraiser should pursue with a resounding ‘Yes’. If they strike you as unnecessary ‘luxuries’ you’re wrong. They’re an essential part of your own development. Not only will they make you better, they’ll make your organization stronger.

  1. Visit another nonprofit. Unless you’re a hermit, you’ve no doubt made friends with others in the nonprofit sector. Ask to visit their offices for a day or half-day to observe what they do and how they do it. You’ll be amazed at what you learn. Then reciprocate.
  2. Do something new. Stop using the excuse of ‘I don’t have time’ and get out of your comfort zone. Could be as simple as taking a vendor up on her offer to tour their plant or meet with their staff. Or join that networking group for Happy Hour this Friday. Not only will you meet new people, but chances are you’ll meet new people and find out about a new product or service that can benefit you and your organization.
  3. Learn something new. I’m sure there’s something at work that’s driving you nuts. Stop moaning and start learning. Maybe it’s how to create a landing page, or launching a new Facebook page or even giving a class on the fundamentals of fundraising to non-fundraisers in your organization. The more you know — and share — the more valuable you are — in the mirror, and in your organization.
  4. Take on a project that makes you uncomfortable. Maybe you’ve read something in The Agitator that suggests you try something you’ve never done before. May make you a bit uncomfortable, but since it doesn’t require that you buy some new type of equipment or hire a consultant, why not try it? Perhaps it won’t work the first time, but you’ll learn a lot and when you try it the next time the results will be better.
  5. Go for a job interview. If your organization won’t spring for Julia’s Storytelling in the Digital Age, you probably should be interviewing anyway. But even if you’re absolutely, positively satisfied with where you are, take a few interviews to learn what skills others value and what plans other organizations have for the future. You may even find a chance to invent the job you’ve always dreamed of.

My point is that regardless of the constraints of ‘cost’ there are infinite ways to challenge yourself and grow. And, when it comes to fundraising, challenge and growth are what it’s all about.

Curiosity is free. And it pays big dividends.

What activities do you suggest?









This article was posted in: Breaking Out of the Status Quo, Fundraising philosophy/profession, Nonprofit management.
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