Do you find running your non-profit today is more challenging than it was five years ago? If you said yes, many of our recent webinar attendees agree with you. Why? Fundraising, which is the lifeblood of a successful non-profit, has become increasingly more difficult. Let’s look at some reasons why.
The Bernie Effect
Does anyone remember the Bernie Madoff scandal? Bernie Madoff, an investment advisor to large non-profit foundations and wealthy families, defrauded them of billions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme. He promised huge returns and generated those returns from money that came in from new investors.
Charitable foundations, both large and small, lost millions. If you took a look at the list of his victims, many were household names.
As a result of losing all of this money, these foundations now had a lot less money to invest in good non-profits like yours.
The Rise of Crowdfunding
There are also new avenues for individuals to donate which increases the competition for donations.
Reading the news, you hear about non-profits paying executives large salaries, or spending a significant amount of their fundraising on administrative and marketing expenses, and a small percentage going to the people they were organized to help. The Wounded Warrior foundation threw lavish parties and paid their former executives handsomely. As a result, potential donors are significantly more careful about who they give money to. They expect more information about who they are sending their hard-earned dollars to, and what results they are achieving. They want information beyond your 501c3 registration and certificate of good standing.
The Answer – Success Metrics
One way of making potential donors, members and volunteers more comfortable is to develop, and publish Success Metrics. How do we define Success Metrics?
- They clearly demonstrate an organization’s willingness to be accountable, and transparent
- Success metrics are outcome indicators (“What impact are my programs having?”) that go beyond financial performance (“What’s my cash balance?”)
- They balance organizational health, financial performance and stability
The Pan Mass Challenge (PMC) publishes a great success metric. 100% of all fundraising goes to the Jimmy Fund. This tells every potential donor that every dollar they raise or send them will go directly for cancer research. It is this Success Metric that has allowed the PMC to raise more than $47 million dollars last year, which represents 50% of the Jimmy Funds total operating budget.
If you would like to learn how you organization can benefit from success metrics, please contact us.