No Money No Mission
By Bernadette A. Moyer
It doesn’t matter how good your mission or your ministry is, if you are out of money, you are out of business. Far too many in the nonprofit arena have this way of thinking that 1) money and abundance are bad things and 2) if they do good work that will be enough to carry them through the day.
The problem is that money isn’t a bad thing and that you can do excellent work but without proper funding you will not make it very far. I’ve witnessed it time and time again. The “do gooders” the people with the vision to help others or teach or supply and support a very real and valid cause are often lacking the piece that marries their mission to the necessary funding.
How about the term “struggling artist” let’ s say that an artist creates wonderful pieces of art but doesn’t have the understanding on the marketing skills necessary to bring their art to the marketplace, what happens next? And many artists do not fully appreciate that the business pieces are just as critical as the making of the art. There has to be a symbiotic relationship between the creator of the art and the selling business in order to succeed.
Years ago in ministry the nuns would meet with money people, the successful businessmen in the community, the scenario went something like this; serve weak coffee and stale doughnuts in a stripped down environment as they plead their cause. Who could say no to that sweet little old Catholic nun? They might even have been successful and received some small donations.
But then … many other religious and nonprofits began to understand the mindset of those that are most successful in the community; successful businessmen. They learned that the most common trait shared was the desire to be part of a winning team. The most-needy didn’t need to start by being successful but they had to be in a position to communicate their vision in a way that a business brain would understand. This much support nets this much growth and development and provide the plan of action.
Today we see a great divide in the nonprofit community with those that are failing or just getting by and others who have a history and track record of measured success. It is not by accident. The organizations that thrive, even in competitive economic times are the ones that fully appreciates the need for the vision to be well supported by the money. You need great salespeople to go along with a great vision.
Most successful people want to help communities that are struggling and to help the under-served communities but they also want to know that the hand out is providing the support for a hand up. Will the money make a difference?
We hear the term “social justice” more and more today, we hear about the inequality of the wealth in our country, we hear that those that “have” should be willing to “pay more” but what incentive do the ones that do not “have” have to succeed if support/money comes with no effort?
What I know for sure is that you can have an excellent mission but without proper funding you will not sustain success. But if you can marry that same mission with money, the sky truly can be the limit. It takes hard work, it takes persistence, it takes an understanding that to appeal to those that can support your cause, you must first communicate that by coming together you can and you will create a winning partnership. Everyone likes being part of a winning team!
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