Donors are using their business tactics and strategy to choose the charities and projects in which they get involved; an increasing trend that has received even more attention since Dan Pollotta’s TED talk.
So I thought it was fortuitous that I was invited to attend a conference for new financial start-ups, essentially a chance to listen to the concerns and foci of investors. After all, donors’ logic dictates that the same tactics should apply to both their for-profit and nonprofit investments.
After listening to the advice offered by the various speakers, I can say that opponents to the changing nonprofit landscape should stop bemoaning the ruining of the charitable sector by the business tactics of today’s “venture philanthropists.” In addition to understanding donors, there is much to be learned from the for-profit sector.
Here are 9 tips offered to businesses at the conference that nonprofits should internalize, as well:
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I spoke recently at the Kishor conference to Women Professionals on Raising Capital. I really enjoyed the challenge of preparing for the talk as the subject was a business term not often used when working in the nonprofit sector.
When priming the presentation for the expected for-profit audience, I was surprised – though in retrospect I shouldn’t have been – by how much holds true when raising funds for either a nonprofit organization or a for-profit venture.
Moreover, after going over the slides, I was amazed how easily I could replace “investor” with “donor” in most of the examples. The fact that the session was attended by professionals from both sectors reinforced this belief, as well.
(The most notable exception to the above is the definition of traction, which is not shared by for-profit and not-for-profit companies.)
Upon further reflection, I was able to gleam three live-or-die principles that span the charitable and capitalist sectors. What follows are the slides of the from presentation and these three takeaways.
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I think that charities need to take a step back because, believe it or not, proper fundraising is a question more encompassing than “direct mail vs. email solicitations” and even larger than “Facebook vs. Twitter” (OMG!).
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