Five Ways to Ensure You Won’t Have Enough Money

why-dont-we-have-enough-moneyMuseums and nonprofit places of learning have many constituencies. Often one particular target market becomes a priority because a sponsor steps forward not only with money but also with a desire to accomplish a specific project, with their name on it. Organizations often respond as they chase the money that is in front of them instead of assessing, long term, if the sponsor’s direction assists them in walking down the road of their strategic plan.

Does this mean that museums should not respond to donor suggestions or desires? Not at all. The donors’ interests and how they connect with your institution need to sincerely be considered and even embraced. But this should be done by taking a view of the whole and without putting all your eggs in one basket. As tempting as it is to let immediate (and often big) money set your course, take time to review how this money, a piece of the entire development pie, will affect your other development efforts and how it affects other museum priorities.

Here are five reasons why museums and similar institutions fail to meet their development goals.

1.  They expect development efforts to flourish without devoting enough time and providing the right mix of human resources. If you want success, staff the positions and do the work – a lot of concentrated work.

2.  They fail to realize that philanthropists want to see success and are interested in funding for that reason. Make them a partner. Communicate. Even share challenges.

3.  They forget that the organization’s leadership is in a relationship with the donor, and relationships need time to grow and dedication to keeping them healthy and alive. Learn about your donors and why they are interested in your organization. Listen More. It’s not a process of merely meeting with them when you want money.

4.  They use one or two of the development tools and forget the others. This relates back to number 1. A comprehensive development plan has many components – from sponsorships to major giving individuals to grants to planned giving and more. If you put a Development Director in place and give her/him no other assistance, how do you expect your plan to be comprehensive? Step back and conduct a development audit.

5.  They play the “if only” game. There is no silver bullet in fund development, so don’t waste time in trying to find the donor Knight in Shining Armor who will take care of all of your needs. For most museums, a mix of funding income is the healthiest, but it takes strategy and work – as much work or more than you put into planning exhibits, programs and events. As much or more than reviewing financial reports. What percentage of time do you devote to development efforts? (See number 1).

Saturday, July 19th, 2014 donors, fund raising, museums, public relations

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