November 1, 2013

The 4 Stages of Nonprofit Income Development

Which stage are you in?

Stage 1: Over Our Heads and Can’t Swim

Characterized by: Nonprofit income is a mystery. How can we get a famous donor to fund us? Funded by beginner’s luck or the founder.

Vulnerable to: Quick fix promises.

Stage 2: Any Money, Any Time

Characterized by: Frenetic and unconnected income development plus smoldering hope for a miracle.

Vulnerable to: Being pulled off track by fake green grass in neighbor’s yard.

Stage 3: Know the Plan

Characterized by: A logical long-term plan, and resignation to do disciplined hard work, plus fear and impatience. Will this really work for us? How soon?

Vulnerable to: Time management challenges and, welcome, but distracting windfalls.

Stage 4: Viable

Characterized by: Increasing sense of solid income and desire to improve, i.e., how can we grow more major gifts?

Vulnerable to: Acceptance of mediocrity, believing the journey is done.

Note: Boards often lag behind staff.


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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