Should You Pursue that Funding Source?

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

Karen Davis at writes in her April 2012 newsletter “Nonprofit opportunities are vast and varied. You have to decide if you will apply for that grant, open a ticket booth at Saturday’s market, do a phone-a-thon, send that mailer or join “on-line popularity contests” that require you to entice your customers to vote for you, and, while it’s not often thought of this way, ask individuals for donations”.

“With most nonprofit income opportunities, one size does not fit all. Some opportunities provide too little return or no return for the effort. Other funding options confuse current donors. (“I participated in their fundraiser, why are they asking me for a donation?”) Still others don’t fit with the strategy at the heart of the nonprofit’s efforts. At worst, they provide little money plus a lot of distraction from the key essential actions the nonprofit needs to do to succeed. To maximize income, nonprofit leaders must discern which opportunities are worthwhile and which to skip. They must do so with imperfect information, as flaws will continue to exist in all our crystal balls.”

Is there a way to make funding decisions to maximize your returns? Absolutely. Establish “Pursue or Not Pursue Criteria” to apply consistently to each opportunity encountered. Used regularly, criteria will help you to maximize funding and save time. With them, you can examine opportunities quickly. Criteria will also allow you to say “no” gracefully to presenters (by referring to the criteria.)

While the goal of funding decisions is first about funding, these decisions also impact your nonprofit’s other bottom lines. Well-designed criterion can guide you to options that provide more bottom lines for the buck. Those “Pursue or Not Pursue Criteria” can lead your nonprofit to more income, more coherent operations, more community, and more mission.

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County,