Like many Americans, I’ve been inundated with news stories about the Big 3 automakers attempts to get a federal loan of billions of dollars. Yes, billions.

So I started wondering, what if the Big 3 were to teach nonprofits how to fundraise?

Some of the humorous answers included:

  • Lose touch with your donor base: Ignore the fact that the market’s changing and just stick with what used to work decades ago.
  • Don’t spend too much time figuring out strategy: When you’re asking for huge amounts of money, there’s no need to have a plan of action. A “you can trust us” approach is fine.
  • Assume everyone’s going to fund you: After all, you are the center of your universe. Why shouldn’t you be the center of theirs too?

Admittedly, these were thought up with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. But it’s scary how often we do the same thing.

  • Many nonprofits just do the same old fundraising events and mailings because we always have without measuring their effectiveness. And we too often forget to explore new tools like Twitter or Facebook.
  • Talk to many nonprofits and they can’t clearly articulated plan including:
    • specifically how much money they want to raise
    • what they’re doing to do with it, and
    • by what date.
  • Many nonprofits seem to forget that nobody owes them a gift. We need to earn the donor’s trust each time and be transparent about how we report back.

Those were my ideas for fundraising like the Big 3. This morning, I sent out a message on Twitter just to see what others would say. Some responses were:

TerraScene what a dismal business model πŸ™

TerraScene arguably a big payoff in the shortrun – but no soul. no accountability. no long term vision for the greater good. yikes!

@rogercarr Fundraising like the Big 3? Volunteers (and development staff) might be members of the Union of Nonprofit Fundraisers.

You mean mess up royally, abandon your donors, and then ask for help?

@forimpact re: big 3. I think most nonprofits DO fundraise like them ‘bail us out’. And therein lies the rub… πŸ˜‰

How about you? What do you think it would look like if nonprofits fundraised like the Big 3?

Use the comments to let us know. And, please, feel free to be humorous.

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