What else did you learn from this spring’s Nonprofit Quarterly reader survey?
Signed, Eager for Insight
In the area of “Finances,” readers of the Nonprofit Quarterly placed “The organization needs to diversify revenue” at the top of their list of concerns, noting also that “The organization needs to do revenue planning, business planning [as well as] fundraising planning” and that “The organization needs more general operating funds.”
What do these three responses have in common? Well, at least the first and the third confirm what every nonprofit executive knows (but which remains news to their volunteer Boards): that relying on grant funding, which rarely includes general operating support, is unwise. That relying on government funding is unwise. That the only way to assure a steady stream of revenue is to have a functioning individual-giving program, which will be by definition diverse because it includes so many individuals.
The Nonprofiteer is a bit concerned about the “revenue planning, business planning” reply because it smacks of a fantasy that nonprofits can somehow earn their way out of the need for fundraising. The only meaningful kind of revenue planning for social-service nonprofits is fundraising planning–everything else is simply a matter of taking money from poor people as a punishment for their poverty.
And while GM and Toyota are frantically scrambling to deal with the consequences of “business planning” that didn’t anticipate an eventual increase in the price of gasoline, could we please suspend the otherwise-obligatory nod to the superior planning and market-awareness skills of the for-profit sector?
Tags: Boards of Directors, business advice, charity, Executive Directors, financial planning, Fundraising, Management Advice Day tip, nonprofit, Nonprofit management, not for profit, Poverty, Private Philanthropy