I was in a meeting with a foundation a couple of weeks ago and the conversation turned to bringing in more assets for nonprofits. That is nothing new, I do work with a lot of nonprofits raising money. Our discussion transitioned into the propensity of nonprofits chasing dollars rather than raising dollars. An all too common problem, also not new, but always unfortunate.
Chasing dollars prioritizes the money over the program and outcomes. This is obviously a recipe for disaster. Perhaps once or twice it can be pulled off, but it is not a sustainable dynamic. Additionally it brands the nonprofit doing it as one that is not serious about planning, mission and/or programming. So why do nonprofits do it? Sometimes it is poor planning. Sometimes it is a loss of funding in other areas. There are a myriad of other excuses used as well. The bottom line is the reason doesn’t matter. What does matter is once it is done, and the nonprofit’s reputation is damaged, the vicious cycle will grow into a larger void as donors slowly back away. So, whether you are the director, a board member or volunteer, before uttering the words “write a grant” make sure there is already a long-term strategy for programming and funding in place the grant fits with. Do yourself a favor and make sure your plans are solid, funders will.