You Must Have a Dream to Fundraise

Here are a couple of questions. Why is it that some nonprofits succeed, while others lag behind? Why do some nonprofits spark a movement, while other fundraising programs barely move at all?

There are many drivers to success and it starts with a big dream. That’s what Angel Aloma, executive director of Food for the Poor, and Tom Gaffney of Tom Gaffney Consulting told attendees at the recent 14th annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference in National Harbor, Md.

One of the keys is that every great mission is animated by a dream. The speakers asked rhetorically: What’s your dream and does everyone know it? You can test if you have clearly stated the dream.

Aloma outlined a staff exercise. Distribute index cards to the entire staff at a meeting. Ask everyone to anonymously write one sentence about the organizational dream that’s not a reworking of the mission or vision statements.

In their own words, get everyone to write about the dream. Some will know why they come to work. Other staffers will surprise you. Some leave it blank. If you don’t know the dream, how can you make it reality?

The dream is the emotional higher purpose that motivates action. It’s the catalyst for fulfillment of the mission.

You must audit that dream. Do you have a clearly stated dream? Is everyone working in concert to make it happen and is your dream clear to your donors?

Gaffney referenced Daniel Pink’s “When.” When we are planning to do something we tend to focus on the what, the how and with whom. It’s most important to give much attention to the “when” if we want to get things done. It’s important to have a person (or persons) in charge of the “when” to make sure it happens.

According to Aloma, dream branding should be everywhere. He asked, “Do you have a ‘face’ of the dream?”

You must beware of dream killers, silos (anything that focuses people on themselves, not the dream; Short-term measurements versus the big picture and energy vampires.