Ten things I’ve learned from small shop fundraising – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Note: This month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival feature (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) is intriguing, and although this is not technically a nonprofit blog, I wanted to give it a shot. Oh, and I know it’s March Guestpost madness, so I’m breaking two rules, but isn’t that what makes life exciting? Also, this post comes from past experience, as well as anecdotes from colleagues…not trying to criticize anybody specifically.🙂

  1. The Good – when you are alone, or in a small organization, you can innovate and change extremely quickly.
  2. The Good – less cooks in the kitchen means more compelling stories, a more distinct narrative, and less watered-down creative and content.
  3. The Good – yes, the failures are yours, but so are the successes. Which is sweet, because I like feeling validated.
  4. The Bad – small shops have small budgets, and it gets tiring hearing that you have no money to run an event, so you’ll have to get everything donated for free.
  5. The Bad – that whole fundraising budget? Yeah, that’s basically your job to raise. Have fun!
  6. The Bad – you remember the scene in “Unforgiven”, when Clint Eastwood starts shooting everybody in the bar, cause he’s so upset about Morgan Freeman being killed? If he’d only had a good staff of people around him, maybe he would have made more rational decisions.
  7. The Bad – you can feel unsupported when nobody around you understands what you do.
  8. The Ugly – fundraising is seen as kind of “icky” by non-profit folks who don’t fundraise. It can make you a bit of a pariah in the wrong place (i.e. “we had to hire a fundraiser, so we did. Now can we stop talking about it please?”)
  9. The Ugly – when your values align with the organization you work for, fundraising is easy. When they really don’t, it can be a nightmare. How can you ask for donations passionately when you don’t believe in the cause?
  10. The Ugly – you and your executive director will be thick as thieves…but only as long as you are hitting your targets.

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