Your Profitable Nonprofit
By Karen Eber Davis
Imagine your mission front and center in your area’s premier retirement home, offering a chance for you to interact on a regular basis with 400 up-scale seniors. Each month, Your Profitable Nonprofit explores remarkable ideas that nonprofits are using to increase their income and reach. This month, we explore Mote Marine Laboratory’s outreach at The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch.
Early one Sunday morning I visited The Glenridge, “an exclusive, life-long-learning senior retirement facility.” As I walked into the main entrance, I was delighted to climb a stairwell placed around a cylindrical story-and-a-half aquarium. A sign indicated that the aquarium was associated with the nonprofit organization Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Later I met with Dr. Kumar Mahadevan, President and CEO of Mote, and learned about the fish, who were swimming blithely as people climbed a stairwell around them. A donor funded the aquarium’s capital costs. The Glenridge supports its operations. Similar Mote aquariums are located in a second senior housing facility, at the main public library, in the pediatric wing of a hospital, and at the airport.
This Month’s Idea
Why might you choose to adapt this idea? Mote’s presence in public places and housing sites promotes its mission of today’s research for tomorrow’s oceans and helps people get closer to the marine research programs the Lab undertakes. The aquarium at The Glenridge supports the development of individual donors. Sharing a visual reminder of your work in an upscale senior facility satisfies two of the three key individual donors “musts.” First, Mote is in the presence of people with means. Second, the aquarium provides a connection. Third, identifying those with passion can take place with follow-up work.
Bringing The Strategy Home
What is the strategy? Find ways to provide reminders of your work or even pieces of your mission at sites where potential donors live or congregate. Even bigger picture, the strategy is about selecting ideas that create value in people’s lives and lead to their support of your nonprofit. Ideas you can use are plentiful. The challenge is in selecting ones that provide double or even mega-whammy help toward your goals. Choose your ideas carefully, and most important, follow through with them.
This individual fundraising strategy involves three steps:
How Can You Use and Adapt This Idea?
Have you dismissed this idea because the nonprofit you serve isn’t an aquarium? Think again. There is more here than just help for aquariums. This strategy is about increasing your reach into the homes of potential donors. You have very important mission stories to tell, and many of them might be displayed in places where potential donors congregate or live. Below are several adaptations of the strategy for different genres using the retirement facility scenario. Since you know your mission intimately, your nonprofit will have even better ideas.
This month’s strategy reaches seniors, builds relationships and stirs passions for a cause with the goal of creating new donors. Once you find an idea to create a presence with seniors with means and pay for it, don’t stop there. Develop relationships and passion with them. Never just change the exhibit. Use the opportunity to grow your community. Find ways to stay in contact with your potential new donors.
Next month in Your Profitable Nonprofit, you will learn about nonprofits that found ways to use their best skills to handsomely profit their bottom lines.