Too often PURPOSE takes a back seat while we struggle for survival. True in life and true in nonprofit management. There’s been a lot of discussion on some of the blogs and discussion forums I follow about earned income being the new savior for nonprofit sustainability.
Without question, earned income is an important part of the revenue mix. I’ve seen it give new life to struggling charities. Sadly I’ve also seen it tear them apart. The key is to find things that your organization can do well that have value and can be sold. Keep it related to the mission. What service or product is just sitting there in the dusty recesses of your organizational mind waiting to be market tested?
The most successful organizations I have worked with have found ways to make their fee for service activities consistent with — and supportive of — fundraising activities When fee for service becomes a lead generator for development and development becomes a lead generator for fee for service product/service lines, you really start to have a healthy enterprise. Think vertical integration for the social sector.
While you’re exploring ways to monetize your organization’s resources, please remember why we’re here in the social sector in the first place. Keep you mission in the driver’s seat lest we lose our way and become hacks!
Have a great weekend!