April 20, 2016

Rule #1: Find a Way to Say Yes to Revenue

I approached a membership organization about honoring a friend. To thank the friend, I wanted to give a donation in her honor. When the CEO learned that I was a visitor, instead of exploring how to help me reach my goal, she began to sell me a membership. She listed on and on membership benefits-tossing my goal aside.

It was like having a persistent gnat in your face that you can’t catch while you’re trying to get something done.

I left feeling unheard, less inclined to join, and wondering if my idea was worth pursuing.

Here the take-away:

Say yes when people want to give your organization money for something that is ethical, honest, and legal.

My request was simple. I even suggested how to do it. Add the following to one of their many newsletters: “Kudos to Sally Jane for providing a great referral to one of our guests. A donation was made in her name to help this organization meet its operating expenses. Way to go Sally! We appreciate you.” *

Instead, I bought a gift certificate from a national chain…. I might have been a new donor.

Listen to people who want to give you money.

When do you say “no” when you might say “yes”?

* What’s even more fascinating is that my query represented a new revenue stream-surely I’m not the only one who would like to thank a member, recognize a birthday, or otherwise celebrate, and help the organization.

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit  CEO Library.

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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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