April 10, 2018

Is Cultural Change a Barrier Between You & Earned Income?

Two people with their backs to each other arms folded- resisting and earned income change.Staff and volunteer resistance are often one of the most significant barriers nonprofit organizations face in increasing their funding from earned income. In some cases, cultural opposition stems from asking for money from customers, clients, or donors. Sometimes the pushback is so massive it curtails all discussion. This block results in significant income loss. You’ll encounter those who like the way things are now in every nonprofit. This resistance holds true even when it means you lack money to pay them adequately.

At Bok Towers Gardens (read about their success with earned revenue here), the docents’ support, who provided the house tours of Pinewood Estate, was the most prominent hurdle they faced as they increased their income and attendance by 300 percent. In the new setup, instead of leading tours through the mansion, docents were assigned to various sites in the building. Some docents preferred “the old way” of conducting tours even as Bok Tower Gardens enjoyed wild success with the fresh approach. As an intelligent compromise, staff encouraged the docents to help visitors enjoy the mansion as they saw fit. If a group or individual were happy self-touring, they didn’t interfere. Docents create on-the-spot personal tours when visitors want more details.

When you identify great ideas to increase your income, expect resistance. When you encounter it, love people for their loyalty. Please help them to understand how the change has the potential to impact your mission, funding, and experiences. Brainstorm compromises, like the leadership at Bok Tower Gardens. Develop that mix the best of the old and the new. Help the resistance to join the cause.

What examples of cultural resistance, especially concerned earned revenue, have you encountered? How did you overcome them?

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit  CEO Library.

For solutions delivered to your inbox, sign up for Karen’s CEO Solutions.


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.


If you appreciate these Added Value posts, please consider subscribing.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Karen Eber Davis Consulting. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Posts