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Common Misconception: Charities do not have the luxury to think about the future. Donated money should be spent immediately to alleviate the suffering of others.

When you discourage long-term vision, you institutionalize suffering.

When funders and donors have a need for immediate gratification, your nonprofit always loses.

Amazon.com operated at a loss for the first five years of its business. In its 6th year, it saw a $5 Million return. Imagine if your nonprofit could operate without any results for five years, and then do something big, and keep doing something big, because you’ve invested in your team, and built the structure and systems to support your team.

“The more we allow charities to invest in the future instead of only the current fiscal year, the more they will be able to build the future we all want.” -Dan Pallotta, Uncharitable

If your nonprofit could invest in the future, how would you do it? What would you like to see happen in your nonprofit?

If you’re like me, you’d think of all of the money you could make for your nonprofit if you had three, two or even one more development staff person. Imagine if you could have one person to take care of events, one for grants, one for marketing, and then you could go on all of the major donor visits you wanted.

But your boss doesn’t see it that way. He would rather that you work four or five people’s jobs, and do them all poorly, than hire one more person to help you. So you write the grants, run the events, research major donors, create marketing materials, and try to make do with interns, and volunteers, stretching your resources as far as they will go. But it’s never enough. Not for your boss.

If you’re in a one person shop: Push your nonprofit to hire someone in addition to you. Say, “I need an events manager, and a grants manager. We can make these into one person, so I can focus on doing major gifts, which will make us the most money in the long run.” And show them the statistics for this.

If you’re in a big shop: If you still feel like you need more resources, then tell your boss. Talk with the board. Do your research, and show how investing in development makes more money for your nonprofit over time.

Make your case. If they can’t hear you, get out and find someone who CAN hear you.

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