December 5, 2016

Need Money? A Counter-Intuitive Solution

graphic with 2 interlocking circles: mission, relationship and moneyOver my years of consulting I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. When income anxiety grows, relationships get neglected. This throws the healthy balance of relationships, money, and mission out of whack. Yet, the balance of the three is what attracts resources. (See the Figure with the three balanced circles.) 1.) If money anxiety escalates, relationships get squished even further. The organization then attracts even fewer resources.

Have you ever noticed that the more some people fixate on money, the worse their money challenges grow?

To get out of this downward spiral, lead your organization back to a balanced focus on relationships, money, and mission. See Figure with the unbalanced circles. 2.) One way is to simply remind others over and over again that income challenges have always been and will always be solved by engaging with others.

To maintain and return to balance also:

  • Ask. What value can we provide our customers, donors, and clients to give them so much value that giving us resources (i.e., money) is a no brainer?
  • Think. What do people need that we can offer? Share your answers. Test them with potential income partners.  
  • Share. When you receive a windfall, remember to talk about the relationship part experience. For instance, ask your board if they realized that, “We visited with Adele fifteen times over three years to close this gift.”

Is your organization anxious about revenue? Be a relationship hero. Show your partners, board members, staff, donors, and everyone important to you the connection between relationships and revenue. Cure money anxiety with relationship building acts. Then watch those actions lead you to the revenue you need.

 Want to know more? Pose a question to  Karen about income. 

Fundraising unhealthy: graphic with three circles, tiny relationship, medium mission and big money


Karen Eber Davis

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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