The Achilles Heel for many Non-Profits

Internal Giving is hands down the most uncomfortable topics of discussion when we are working with a non-profit and it turns out to be an Achilles heel for many organizations.

“I work here, I get paid less than I should, and donate extra time to this organization. You can’t expect me to give as well.”

“I sit on the Board, I’m giving my time.”

“I’m a staff member, not a major gift prospect.”

It never fails, every time we bring up this topic the room immediately gets uncomfortable. Individuals sit back in their chairs, eyebrows furrow, and arms cross…

The truth is if you are not prepared to financially support the cause you are closest to then you shouldn’t be spending your time there.

Board members and staff on small shops are notorious for not giving financially. If I told you, “Your organization will fold in 3 years if you do not give” would you change your giving habit?

Non-profits will NOT survive WITHOUT a culture of philanthropy. A culture of philanthropy is a fancy term saying we support ourselves, believe in our cause, and are invested in our work. We give because it is a value if ours and we want to see our work leave a lasting impact.

Without a culture of philanthropy, organizations struggle with fundraising.

Most of us are aware of the concept leading by example and putting your money where your mouth is. It is very difficult to promote a non-profit as a worthy cause without an internal culture of philanthropy.

Alright so why does it matter anyway?

Yes, it is great to support your own cause.

Yes, you’ll probably feel good about giving (eventually).

Yes, you may even get a tax credit.

Yes, you’ll fulfill an obligation.

But more than that, your organization will flourish. Your staff and Board may not provide a LOT of money for the organization, but they are now much more invested in their cause. It comes across in how they communicate to others and act as ambassadors for your non-profit. Board and staff that give can be called upon to help with a prospect. And this inside-out fundraising concept is pivotal in long-term fund-development success.

We’ll be meeting with a prospect alongside a Board/staff member and the prospect will straight out ask, “John,(the Board/staff member) how much have you given to the project?”

We’ve seen this go both ways and We’ll let you use your imagination when the Board/staff has NOT given. When they lie, it comes across and affects the prospects gift.

OK, I’ll tone it down a bit. My last point is this, YES, your time and expertise are valuable to the non-profit organization, but without finances, the organization is really limited in its impact.

You can’t print new materials without money, you can’t purchase new research equipment without money, you can’t hire more staff without money, and you can’t create an impact without money.

If you work for a non-profit or sit on a Board, I urge you to make that organization one of your top 3 philanthropic causes. If you owned a Dodge dealership I’d hope you aren’t driving a Kia.