Maybe you’ve heard this before: What are the 7 most expensive words in business?
“We have always done it that way.”
If you haven’t heard this quote before, let me be the first to tell you that it’s amazingly simple yet shockingly true.
In business, risk takers change their industries and our country’s culture. Businesses that are willing to be bold, different, and game changing are often the most successful. Think about it: Uber, AirBnB, Tesla, Facebook, Apple. They are the game changers.
So, why isn’t this the same for the nonprofit sector? Why don’t we challenge the norm? Why aren’t we bold?
Let’s pause for a minute and see where complacency has gotten us:
2%. Complacency has inspired people to give only 2% of their disposable income… for the last 40 years.
Giving USA just released its annual report celebrating that giving is at an all time high. But, why are we celebrating an industry that actually hasn’t grown in our revenue share for five decades?
So, let’s think about our original quote: “We have always done it that way.”
The way we’ve always done it isn’t moving us forward. Most nonprofits are struggling to meet budgets, raise funds, and keep expenses in line.
With that said, some organizations like CharityWater.org, ALS Foundation, Feeding America, and Water for People are growing quickly by challenging the status quo. Why? They are creative. They are thought leaders. They market, embrace technology, and chart their own waters (no pun intended for the water folks).
I meet with hundreds of nonprofits each month, and if I donated $1 for every time I’ve heard, “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” the 2% would be moving upward. Unfortunately, when you fear change and risk, you can be your own biggest obstacle in raising the funds you need.
I meet with hundreds of nonprofits each month, and if I donated $1 for every time I’ve heard, “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” the 2% would be moving upward.
In the nonprofit world, your success means really meaningful things– another coat for a child, another person transformed, or another crime prevented. You are all doing amazing things and sacrificing so much to do what you’re passionate about. We want to see you take risks and embrace change so that you can continue to grow your impact!
I have a few posts HERE that explain where the donation market is heading. The market is moving online and engaging younger donors. It’s responding to innovative ways of communicating, like viral campaigns.
As you seek to solve big problems, you absolutely have to embrace changes, take risks, and be creative. As you fundraise, be a change leader that drives your organization to actively market, leverage technology, and keep your eyes on the world changing prize– whatever your cause may be.