Nonprofits Build and Boost Financial Capacity – Kathleen Robinson is NANOE’s second article reviewing of Dr. Kathleen Robinson’s Three-Part Video Series, “DNA for Personal And Organizational Wellbeing.” Here’s what Dr. Robinson has to share:
NANOE leaders know you want to have all the financial resources you need to achieve your nonprofit’s mission so that this world is a better and different place!
In order to do that, an altered view of the what and how of financial capacity development is needed. When a nonprofit performs effectively in building the financial capital it needs to accomplish its mission at its intended scale and impact, the nonprofit has developed the capacity to communicate and relate effectively to those who want to invest in its cause. People affiliated with the organization have the knowledge and skill needed to conduct effective fundraising processes capable of garnering millions, not hundreds of dollars. It has developed an internal financial capital development organizational capacity. Effective financial capacity development strategies are present to guide and direct securing, growing, and sustaining needed financial capital. A shift in thinking and operations has occurred. The nonprofit understands building the organization’s capacity to secure and sustain financial capital is as important as the attention it gives to service development and delivery. The leadership understands that because they are responsible to lead organization, their priority is on performing functions related to financial capital development. It takes precedence over leading directly, service delivery. Others do that. Indeed, they understand that without adequate financial capital, their ability to provide services doesn’t exist. Without adequate financial capital development capacity, the ability of the organization to accomplish its mission is impossible.
The problem is most leaders who work with nonprofits are not taught the elements of fundraising or economic capital development that make a difference in their nonprofit’s financial success. Most lack essential financial capital development knowledge, skills, and capacities. Many nonprofits marketing messages are off. And they don’t provide the information that contributors, community leaders, and customers need and want. Most nonprofits don’t prioritize their time and energy to include cultivating and sustaining contributor relationships. Contributors are not finding adequate information they need to risk giving large investments to them. This lack of information is due to inadequate internal evaluation capacity, so outcomes and impacts needed to assess the value and worth of services is not readily available in a form needed by investors and community leaders. There is lack of attention to building internal financial capital development working units. Consultants hired to raise funds often don’t give away their knowledge, do all the work that should be done internally, and charge fees that are out of the reach of many nonprofits. Executives, volunteer and paid, lack a proper, effective understanding, commitment to, and skill in leading financial capital development efforts. There is a failure to understand that the task is not so much about asking people for money as it is about telling their nonprofit’s story in a way that investors can understand, respect, and trust, and feel compelled to give to. The return on their investment is not readily transparent. Some industry leaders keep promoting flawed board roles and responsibilities relative to financial capital development. In short, most nonprofit leaders lack adequate financial capital development knowledge and skills and misunderstand their role and responsibilities for building and boosting the organization’s capacity to raise financial resources in a sustainable way that allows for growth and significant impact.
As a result, most nonprofit leaders feel inadequate to lead financial capital development efforts. They feel unsatisfied with the level of results they can achieve given their vision and mission. They feel anxious most the time because they never have the financial resources necessary to accomplish their vision of change. They feel uneasy about the financial future of their organization. Some become content with the status quo during the good times and are complacent in their leadership to build financial capital development capacity during the good times so their organization can weather the bad times. Some are in a manic-panic mode relative to raising funds. Some lack motivation to concentrate on financial capital development. Some live with continuous anxiety that just around the corner their organization may not survive financially and that they will be held responsible for its decline or dissolution.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is more than enough money available to support your cause. Availability of funds is not the problem! But the problem partially lies in contributors’ lack of assurance that they will see a significant return on their investment! They lack the information needed about current outcomes and impacts attributed to interventions. And most nonprofits are not equipped with the essential capacity needed to secure financial capital, or to grow and sustain it. Leaders lack proper understanding of staffing and leadership requirements needed to raise financial capital. Some industry standards of practice promote unsound, unworkable views and standards of practice.
Fundraising and financial capital development knowledge and skills can be learned, if nonprofit leaders are properly mentored and given cost-effective tools, models, and case studies to support learning and fundraising practice. They can learn what is required to build an effective financial management unit within their organization, regardless of their current size. However, there has been too few resources available for nonprofit leaders and members to learn on the job in affordable, practical ways.
The tyranny of the urgent connected to service delivery causes some leaders to spend too little time cultivating and sustaining the organization’s economic wellbeing. Some lack motivation to concentrate time and effort of financial capital development capacity building. Some are not comfortable in asking people for money, partially because they lack training and concentrating of learning new ways to think about and engage in capital development. However, NANOE believes most nonprofit leaders want to gain knowledge and skill in financial capital development. They want to build the capacity needed to secure necessary and sufficient capital. They just need practical, affordable ways to learn and institute such capacity
NANOE understands there is always the tyranny of the urgent of meeting your organization’s needs. We understand leaders must lead people, operations, and the organization. We understand these competing leadership responsibilities place demands on everyone’s time, energy, and request for resources. We understand that your nonprofit is in competition with others for what appears to be limited dollars. We understand many nonprofit leaders feel ill equipped to raise funds properly. We understand you may not like asking people for money. We understand you are apt to spend the most energy and time on things that give you a sense of satisfaction and are of interest.
Which is why NANOE provides tools, ideas, seminars, guidelines, phone consultations, face to face consultations, and web-based resources on fundraising and financial capital development. NANOE desires to give away its financial capital development and fundraising knowledge and skills to leaders that desire to learn how to successfully raise funds, manage it entire financial portfolio, and engage contributors on a sustainable basis. NANOE’s teams support nonprofits that are committed to raising significant funds and increasing their organization’s capacity to do so on a sustainable basis.
NANOE does this by:
1, NANOE provides web-based resources (tutorials, videos, case studies, examples from nonprofits that were successful in fundraising) for its members through the Major Gifts Ramp-Up Cloud.
Call to Action: So, whether you lead your organization’s fundraising efforts directly or are a leader that must ensure effective fundraising and financial capital development occur, commit to learning how to raise funds, and manage and sustain your finances effectively. Discover that fundraising and financial capital development are not so much about asking for money as it is about sharing passionately what your nonprofit does and its results. Build a strong case for support. Learn how to develop such a case and use it effectively. You have stories of impact worth sharing! Make sure these stories are presented in a way that compels contributors to want to hear them and invest in making even a greater impact. Earn contributors’ trust and respect by performing effectively in your fundraising and financial capital development efforts.
Transitional Call to Action: In the meantime, start learning what is involved in the fundraising process by attending one of NANOE’s monthly virtual or face-to-face seminars. Keep your membership current so that you can access the Major Gift RampUp Cloud to access numerous tools and resources to help you in your fundraising efforts. Read NANOE’s Guidelines on Building Your Financial Capital and Boosting Your Financial Capital for Growth and Impact. Test your understanding of the craft of fundraising and building financial capital capacity by taking the self-learning, self-paced credentials entitled Certified Nonprofit Executive and Certified Development Executive.
Stop spending what little time and resources you have on raising insignificant amounts of money through fundraising events that sap your and volunteers’ times and energy with little financial result that makes a different to your organization’s success and sustaining your operation and organization. Stop feeling incapable of managing, growing, and sustaining the finances you need to accomplish your mission.
Instead, learn how to raise the six and seven figure gifts you need. Learn how and begin building lasting relationships with your contributors so that sustainability of your organization is not in question during the bad economic times as well as good times. Build effective organizational capacity to secure all the capital you need to support your mission at a scale that makes a difference.
Outcome: When leaders who work with nonprofits build adequate financial development capacity, they feel more satisfied with the outcomes achieved. Leaders understand their role in capital development and the organization is more focused in the choice of strategies adopted to achieve their mission. Co-workers become more accountable and transparent for the outcomes achieved. When financial capital development capacity is present, leaders have the resources they need to accomplish public relations, outreach, and marketing goals. Their accounting systems are usually more robust and meet proper accounting standards. Their evaluation capacity is usually enhanced. When financial capital development capacity is present, nonprofit leaders receive more support and endorsement from community leaders, contributors, staff, and customers.
During her fifty-five-year career, Dr. Robinson worked in community and regional support systems development for at-risk families, children and youth organizations, community-based literacy systems, holistic family centers and nonprofit human services organizations. In addition, her focus has been on systems-based approaches to community planning and policy development, and social impact assessments of various community change projects. Her expertise is rural, integrated community development. Dr. Robinson previously served as Director of the Center on Neighborhood Development and the Director of the Center on Nonprofit Leadership within the Institute on Families and Neighborhood Life at Clemson University. She also co-led in the development of the Institute’s PHD program in International Family and Community Studies. She is also the Co-Founder of the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives. Simply put, Kathleen knows how to work with nonprofits
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