The myth that small budget nonprofit organization cannot or should not pursue multimillion dollar campaigns is exactly that: a myth.The size of your nonprofit organization’s operating budget does not dictate its fundraising prowess.How do I know? The nonprofits who have been successful:A battered women’s shelter with an annual budget of $90,000 raises $2.1 millionA youth summer camp with an annual budget of $300,000 raises $8 millionA community arts groups with an annual budget of $160,000 raises $3.8 millionA statewide professional society with an annual budget of $40,000 raises $7 millionA small town Boys & Girls Club with an annual budget of $280,000 raises $2.5 millionA group helping sexually abused children with an annual budget of $450,000 raises $4.5 millionA community based drug and alcohol recovery organization with an annual budget of $150,000 raises $1.3 million and 30 months later raises another $1.1 million.There are more examples, but I think you get the point.There are always reasons not to pursue a comprehensive campaign:“The economy is poor.”“We don’t have enough staff.”“The board is not engaged.”“We don’t have answers to a lot of our questions answered yet (I call this one paralysis thru analysis).”“We have no big gift donors (and you won’t if you don’t do a campaign).”“There are groups currently doing campaigns in our city.”“We’ve never done a multi-million dollar campaign before.”And my personal favorite, “No one knows who we are (beyond money, campaigns serve to greatly increase the visibility and profile of an organization).”All of these dynamics were true for these nonprofit groups. Still, they went on to raise major dollars in service to the clients served by their nonprofit group.Each of these groups had a different mission and a different type constituency. What these successful organizations have in common is a desire to better serve their clients and to serve more people in need. These groups engaged fundraising counsel and each pursued a major campaign. On any given day they had their doubts and concerns about their fundraising, but each trusted and pressed forward with the fundraising process.Most importantly they did not allow their doubts and fears to delay or high-jack their ultimate goal of raising more money to better serve their clients.If an organization of any size allows the current view of itself, including the size of its annual budget, to influence its future it strikes me that its future will be much like its past.by a Hartsook Consultant guest blogger
The Most Influential ‘Living Person’ in Philanthropy
Robert F. Hartsook Receives Honorary Doctorate of Business
Plymouth University, United Kingdom
Bob Hartsook was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration by Plymouth University in Plymouth, England. The University described Bob as: “arguably the most influential living person improving the philanthropic donor experience.” Such global affirmation appropriately recognizes Bob and uniquely distinguishes Hartsook as the world’s fundraising counsel.”
Plymouth University honors individuals who have achieved great distinction in their professional lives and who have made contributions to society at large. In recognizing Bob Hartsook’s impressive achievements, the University has highlighted his service to the field of philanthropy, his promotion of academic study and research and his personal commitment to growing philanthropy around the world. Go here to learn more and view videos from this event.
Pictured: Karin Cox, Hartsook Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer; Julian Chaudhuri, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education and Student Experience; Bob Hartsook; Adrian Sargeant, Professor of Fundraising at Plymouth University and the Director of the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy; Jen Shang, Philanthropic Psychologist and Director of Research at the University of Plymouth Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy; Matthew J. Beem, Hartsook President and CEO.