Until about two weeks ago those were three words I never thought of stringing together before. Now, it is all I hear. “Have you found someone to rake your roof?” “Do you know a store selling roof rakes?” Did you know there was a recent run on roof rakes this past week in a small Connecticut town? As the story goes, 3,000 were sold in one week as opposed to the usual 5-7 a year prior to this season of snow. I heard another town actually sent out an alert via their phone system letting people know 500 roof rakes were being delivered!
Many of us in New England don’t want this weather to continue … but the reality is – we have no control over the matter. In fact, an old song by the “Stones” comes to mind … “You can’t always get what you want – but if you try some times, you just might find, you’ll get what you need” Hence, – roof rakes!
It’s a matter of adapting. And hasn’t that been a song we all have been singing the past couple of years? Working with non-profits has shown me that they are among the most resilient entities out there. Since the plummeting economy of 2008, many have shown remarkable resilience. And that spirit has resulted in their ability to raise funds even in the most challenging of times. I know charitable giving has declined. But it hasn’t stopped. People are still giving and the hardiest non-profits have become more astute about asking. They know people understand that giving means the most when times are most difficult. And they are willing to step up to the plate. Now as we begin to slowly re-emerge, perhaps there are some lessons we can learn from our collective experiences.
- Strong development programs are not about a few large (and often lucky) gifts coming through. It is about consistently building those relationships that will provide a solid stream of revenue from different sources in both good times and bad.
- Boards are the foundation of giving at any organization. What they bring to the table is more than expertise – it is a willingness to reach out to others and engage them in the cause. They, too; however, must be nurtured and applauded for the time and commitment they give. Asking and raising funds does not come easy to anyone. Hooray for those who are willing to embrace the cause and wear their dedication on their sleeves.
- People have made a real difference to our causes. We cannot thank them enough. And thank you is not a casual, mechanical process – but one that is heartfelt. Appreciating our donors, our volunteers, our Boards and all those who make a difference to the organizations we serve is so important – because they are treasures in and of themselves.
- Raising money is work. That is all it really is. Show up, do what you need to do, and it will yield results. There’s no short cut.
So whether your raking the roof, plowing the driveway, walking instead of driving to your friends’ house, finding ways to adjust to cabin fever … you’ve adapted. And if you work for a not-for-profit organization – that’s just your way of life, isn’t it?