July 28, 2016

Dealing with Abundance: Reducing Worthy Requests

North sea breakersIn a month we receive requests from ten title companies, twenty mortgage companies, and fifty non-profit organizations. – a real estate broker.

My book for nonprofits, 7 Nonprofit Income Streams is sub-titled “Open the Floodgates to Sustainability”. As a business owner, you probably want to reduce the flood of requests flowing to you to support worthy causes.

How might you reduce this flood? More importantly, how can you reduce the flood in a way that allows the opportunities you want (those that offer high value) to flow? Follow these steps:

  1. Stop. Before deciding whether to support another request, determine which causes mean the most to you. Deciding in advance allows you to   reduce your response time. Initially the flood maybe the same, but you gain control over its flow. (Email me for a free diagnostic tool to determine your priorities.)  
  2. Strategy. Develop either a giving strategy or better yet, link your giving to your business strategy. Since you have an abundance of choices, narrowing your choices to causes that positively impact your business success is logical and efficient. This practical approach doesn’t take away from your giving back. It augments it. After all, the greater your business success, the more you can give. You’ll be seen as a smart and generous. (See Corporate Philanthropy and Breakfast with Mom.)
  3. Reach Out. Besides responding to requests, seek opportunities that fit the strategy. Stake out options that provide exponential value to the requesting entity, the community at large, and you.
  4. Be Clear. Announce your intentions. If your current message is that you help everyone, refine it.  Design a message that fits your intentions.  
  5. Be Quick. Write a list of criteria. Use these to quickly evaluate requests arriving on the fly. Provide immediate feedback. Save time. Turn down the faucet to low.
  6. Be Consistent. Use the criteria consistently.

Using these steps will reduce the flood of requests to focus on those with the most meaning and value to you. Be clear and you’ll help everyone to focus on productive opportunities. 


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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