Every large organization had to start somewhere. And in those small beginnings were strategic plans, sacrifices, and focused efforts that brought them their growth and success.
Here are five keys to focusing your efforts while you are building toward growth.
1. Get the most out of what you have.
When you are small, you need to get the most out of every position and person you have on staff. Maximize your time and efforts to generate the most progress without causing burnout. Create positions and titles that bring skilled workers to your team with detailed job descriptions and specific expectations. Many organizations take the approach “cheap is best” or “take what you can get,” but that is not always the best tactic. You waste more time and energy redoing work and refocusing efforts from unfruitful rabbit trails. Volunteers can be a great asset; however, never rely on volunteers to do work that is essential to the organization’s success and growth, remembering they are not as invested as full-time employees. They need to be well monitored and given less essential jobs to do.
2. Focus on what really matters.
Always remember why you are here: your mission. Everything you do should focus on that one thing. Growth will come if you keep doing what you do best. Focus your limited energy and resources on tasks and initiatives that stay true to who you are. Always have growth in mind, but remember, growth is a marathon, not a sprint.
3. Build trust that lasts.
How do you build trust with your donors and potential donors? Transparency. Donors and potential donors want to feel connected to your mission and vision. Be transparent about your programs, your operations, and your funds. As the level of trust increases, those donors and potential donors become engaged and full advocates for your organization. Advocates become the funding source that will catapult you into further expansion and growth.
4. Show the impact.
Part of the trust-building process is showing impact. Donors and potential donors want to know what impact their giving will make in the world. A study by Root Cause found that 75 percent of donors want information about a nonprofit’s impact before donating. With so many nonprofit organizations out there, a donor can be overwhelmed with choices. You must connect their donation with your mission. Thank them for their gift and clearly state the difference they made happen.
5. Stick to the fundamentals.
The fundamentals may not always be flashy, but they work! That doesn’t mean you cannot experiment with other revenue or lead-generating opportunities, but don’t do so at their expense. One of these fundamentals is direct-mail acquisition. You need a strong strategy with a full direct-mail program, not just a letter. Consistency really does matter with direct mail as donors come to rely on its punctual arrival each month. And don’t forget about the importance of receipt letters. Be sure to thank donors for their generosity and remind them of the impact their gift is making.
And lastly, know your limitations. Hire consultants, as needed, to help you with any unexpected growth or new unfamiliar territory. Experts can help you redirect energy and strategies to stay focused on what matters most: your mission.
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