Do you understand the dynamics that worked in your own decisions
to participate and support? Can you apply these in your
Now consider a checklist of negatives. Does your appeal include
any of these?
A final point to consider is that you often find your best
prospects among those who have given before, and you should
carefully cultivate these people for future contacts. Don't make
the mistake of contacting past donors only when you are requesting
another gift. It's important to keep them informed of your
programs and relevant events through out the year. by doing so,
you are reporting to donors the significance of their contributions
with the unstated implication, of course, of the need for continued
- "Any amount will help, no matter how small." This cheapens the
campaign and defeats the premise of thoughtful, proportionate
- "This is an emergency campaign. If we don't raise x-dollars by
x-date, programs will be reduced or eliminated." Most people are
not eager to get on a losing bandwagon.
- "A gift of x-dollars actually swill cost you only x-dollars."
The prospect knows this (or can secure this information from other
sources) and may resent your implication that the major reason for
giving is the tax benefit.
- Too often a request for a contribution is made apologetically.
The response to such an approach is usually rejection or a token
This article was published in the May/June issue of NONPROFIT WORLD,
on page 11, and is reprinted by permission. NONPROFIT
WORLD is published by The Society for Nonprofit Organizations,
6314 Odana Road, Suite 1, Madison, WI 53719 (608-274-9777).
By sharing resources, you can create a more powerful voice in
the community. How can your organization build better
Sources: Michigan Housing Coalition, A Resource Guide for
Effective Housing Ministries, 1989, pp. 15-19; NONPROFIT
WORLD, July/August 1994, pp. 24-25; Bernice Johnson Reagon,
"Coalition Politics: Turning the Century," from M.L. Anderson and
P,H. Collins, Eds., Race, Class & Gender, Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth, Inc., 1992.
- Works toward mutual support and community problem solving with
organizations which you might share a vision with. Support the
efforts of other organizations by attending their benefits and
other events. Discuss shared interests and methods of
collaboration to solve community problems with key people from
- Team up with others in the community. Religious organizations
often offer nonprofits facilities, volunteers, publicity, contacts,
and many other resources. Businesses can use their influence to
help advocate for key issues, help enhance your visibility, provide
financial and managerial resources, etc. Colleges and
universities can provide expertise, do research, and assist with
publicity and research.
- Become more visible. Speak at service clubs, PTAs, and other
groups' meetings. Attend community functions. Encourage your paid
staff and volunteers to become more active by joining clubs,
boards, commissions, or advisory panels.
- Explore computer networks. Many nonprofits form computer
networks to connecting organizations working on similar problems.
Some existing computer networks good for sharing resources and
ideas are HandsNet (20195 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Suite 120,
Cupertino, California 95014, 408-257-4500) and Internet (Madeline
Gonzalez, Coordinator, Boulder Community Network, University of
Colerado, 3645 Marine Street, Campus Box 455, Boulder, Colorado
- Use conferences to network. Conferences are natural places to
explore common concerns. Keep in contact with friends you make at
conferences and continually build on the contacts.
- Keep in contact with your network. Use your newsletter to
keep connected with people, inform them of your activities and
successes, and thank them for your support. Invite network members
to functions and events.
- The "Yellow Pages" are an excellent resource for identifying
sources of help for clients and staff, like-minded organizations,
organizations who might be interested volunteering services,
- Keep an open mind about who potential allies are. Good
alliances sometime come from constituents that you wouldn't
normally expect to fully support your efforts. Don't expect to
feel "comfortable" with your constituents (in fact, if you're
building broad enough coalitions, you should not feel
"comfortable"); coalition work challenges you and your
- Establish a win-win relationship. Through networking, both
you an d the other organizations can mutually benefit. Discuss
what you're after, and explain what you can offer, such as
increased visibility, additional allies, greater political
The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation's most recent publication,
Collaboration Handbook: Creating, Sustaining, and Enjoying the
Journey, is a 192 page book which outlines important issues in
collaboration. The book includes sections on: knowing whether
collaboration is the best way to accomplish your goals; whether
your collaborative efforts have the right components to succeed;
how to start and sustain it; and how to manage the stages and
challenges in collaboration. It is available for $28 through the
Amherst H. Wilder Foundation Publishing Center, 919 Lafond Avenue,
St. Paul, MN 55104, 800-274-6024. Also available are
Collaboration: What Makes It Work; Marketing Workbook for
Nonprofit Organizations; and Strategic Planning Workbook for
A Note from the Editors
Everything we focus on in this issue of ROADMAP is designated
to strengthen your organization, to make it more visible in the
community, and to help give you the resources you need to provide
the best possible programs for the women and girls.
Many of the suggestions in this issue also take time and don't
offer an immediate result. We all want to accomplish many things:
building stability of our organizations, building better services
for our primary constituents, building better solutions for
community problems. We also acknowledge the need to build
collaborations and networks with other organizations to address
problems and issues in a broader context. But how can we do any of
these things when there seems to be barely enough time to handle
the day-to-day crises we face?
We wish we had a simple answer. We know that organizations need to
grant themselves permission to take the time for activities that do
not have a short term pay-off. Empowering our employees,
developing community networks, and building foundation relations
are critical activities and should be recognized as part of your
managerial plan. If you want to move from crisis management to
organizational stability and long-range community problem solving,
give yourself permission to work for the long term.
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Last revised : 07/11/96