June 13, 2016

Your Income Solution in a Nutshell

“Previous funding no longer brings in the revenue we need. Prices keep going up. The competition for dollars is keen.” -An executive director’s confession

 Things haven’t changed. The vast majority of nonprofits still proclaim the same or similar income challenges today.

Your cause deserves to be funded. You do good work. You deserve income to support it.

 To change a needy-when-it-comes-to-income pattern, you need a long-term strategy. You need income to sustain you and some cash to stash for tough times.

Over my 20 plus years advising business and nonprofits, I have seen many variations. However, when you boil down the essentials only three forms of cash revenue sustain most nonprofits. They are revenue:

  • Earned by selling goods and services related to the mission,
  • Individual donations, and
  • Government funding.

Foundation grants, corporate income* and earned income unrelated to mission are accessories. They enhance revenue and can save the day, but rarely bring home the bacon year-in-year-out. (For a full discussion of the seven nonprofit income streams, read 7 Nonprofit Income Streams. It will help you to develop a customized strategy for your forever income.)        

If you are serious about obtaining the income you deserve for your good work, you face a forced choice. If you can’t get enough government money (and many who do get substantial government revenue still need other income for flexibility) you must figure out what to sell to earn income. Or, you must create a community of donors. 

The best thing you can do? Identify your how. Which stream is your ticket? Commit to it. Decide to be  very, very good at securing it.

 Enough said. Time to choose. You can do it. You deserve it. What will it be?

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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