“We milk every cow,” explained Ms. Blanchard in a recent New York Times’ article. “We’re not a three- or four-legged stool. We’re a millipede.” The article goes on to explain that the nonprofit where Blanchard serves as president and CEO “cobbles together funds from 37 federal state and local programs.”
Milking every cow might be a motto for every nonprofit in the world. To develop steady, sustainable, growing income, stones must be turned. Doors checked. Forgotten hallways scanned for opportunities.
It’s not about working hard, although exploiting found opportunities will require work. It’s about being a practical, dedicated, disciplined, and innovative explorer–pardon me for taking the metaphor too far—of udders. Many will prove dry. Others will be unproductive—too little ROI for the effort involved. Heck, the odds are that 50 percent of the animals you thought were cows will turn out on closer inspection to be bulls. However, among the dead ends, closed doors, and wormy dirt, you’ll find productive income opportunities.
The trick? Develop a discipline of milking cows effectively and quickly. Doing so requires skills. My bend, which you know if you’ve been a reader of this site, is that nonprofits miss huge opportunities to grow their brand, employee loyalty, and income when they don’t effectively “milk” their partnerships to provide more benefits for all.
Look around. You’ll find a lot of cows. Determine with minimal effort if you can milk them and how you might milk them. For more about nonprofit revenue development, download a chapter of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let’s Raise Nonprofit Millions Together. Or, give me a call at 941-924-4860. We can have coffee with or without milk.
Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.
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