Here are seven planning tips gleaned from developing one earned revenue project at a non-profit organization (Karen’s 14th.) Use them to help your organization create sustainable earned income:
1. New? The new service involves flipping an existing one. While the project will serve traditional customers, the innovation repositioned a side event to a main one. How might you create something new and profitable with existing components so that your organization can do mission and earn funding from doing it?
2. Remember the Goal. The project will be self-sustaining and improve your funding. You will be delighted with the projected mission results. Do not forget the goal.
3. Run the Numbers. Estimate income and expenses early. Run them at your planning mid-point and at the end. Adjusting paper models is easy.
4. Pricing Trade-offs. Pricing always involves trade-offs. You can serve more by charging less, but if you charge too little the program won’t survive. Remember #2.
5. Start small. To test the idea, my client piloted it in January with 18 people.
6. Controlled Growth. Resist the temptation to ramp up a new effort too rapidly. In this plan, the first year takes the project to a sustainable scale, and leaves room for future growth. The non-profit organization has the capacity to earn an additional $20,000 and serve 100 more customers, but ramping up this much would cause unnecessary stress, risk service quality and leave little excess capacity for unforeseen surprises.
7. Tap Many Sources. In addition to earned revenue, the project’s funding includes four of the other seven nonprofit sources. Funding diversity enhances stability just like successful cocktails take mixing.
For more help improving your funding by earning revenue your earn from doing your mission, see
Podcast #11 Karen Eber Davis Interviews Tax Managers, Victoria Bartlett and Catherine Mary Sullivan
(Getting Comfortable With the Impact of Earned Income)
Podcast #8 Karen Eber Davis Interviews Doug Fleener, Creating Brilliant Customer Experiences  (How to Enhance Your Retail Sales)