Change your Mission!

You know that mission statement that is either on the wall in your office or in some dusty handbook at the bottom of your desk drawer?  Yeah, that one.

Is there anything about your donors in that mission statement?  Probably not.  It’s a pretty rare occurrence if there is.

I’m going to go out on a limb here.  But, at Veritus we believe non-profits need to change their mission statements to not just include donors, but to make them half of your mission.

There, I said it.  Now, let me have it.  Come on, don’t hold back…

Tell me all the reasons why that is just a crazy idea.  Now, for all the reasons you can come up with, I’ll have two about why your non-profit needs to change its paradigm regarding how it views donors.

What I’m talking about goes way beyond being donor-centered.  I’m talking about changing your organization’s mindset and culture.  In short, the way it does business.

For too long we in the non-profit world have looked at our donors as a means to an end.  You need their money to get the real work done, right?  But what if your real work was not only based on your current mission statement, but also to care, challenge and change your donors, so they too can be transformed by their giving and involvement in your work?

That’s pretty radical.  But also, I believe it will change lives and help your organization be more successful.

So what does this new paradigm look like?

Well, what if your organization actually had folks whose sole job was to evaluate the programs you have and report on their impact to your donors? I mean, that’s it, that’s all they would do.  Or, what if your program people took a day out of their week to call or visit with donors and update them on what is happening with the investment they made?  What if you invited donors to sit with your executive team in your yearly planning meetings?  Or you invited them to your annual retreat.

What if you doubled the size of your development department so you could reach the donors that want a deeper relationship with you?  I know, crazy, right.  No, it’s not.  How many of you are working 60 hours a week and wish you had two people doing what you do?  Just think of how many more donors could be reached in a more meaningful way.  What if you actually had time to think, plan and communicate with donors?

What a concept, huh?

I know what I’m saying is counter to how almost all non-profits work, but I don’t care.  It’s time to change.  It’s time for a new paradigm where the needs of your donors and the purpose of your  mission are viewed equally.

This doesn’t negate the work your organization is doing.  You need to keep doing it, better than ever.  We need to move beyond viewing our donors as a means to an end, but rather, as a vital part of your overall mission.

The for-profit world has gotten this.  The extraordinary companies are the ones who spend more money on their employees; they provide incredible customer service and don’t skimp on their product.  Those extraordinary companies defy conventional wisdom and yet are wildly successful.

We can learn from this.  Yes, it’s a risk.  Yes, it defies the current non-profit paradigm, but folks, as Bob Dylan sang, “The Times They Are A Changin.”  Are you willing to change with them?

Next post:  Going from ratios to results—why focusing on results will change your organization and increase your revenue.

Jeff Schreifels


About Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry

Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry have over 55 years of experience fundraising for non-profits. Richard Perry was co-owner of Domain Group until 2005. Jeff Schreifels was a Senior Strategist for Domain Group for 12 years. They came together a few years ago to start Veritus Group, a full-service major gift fundraising agency. Veritus Group has a unique, data-driven approach unlike any agency focused on major gifts. Jeff and Richard are passionate about their work, passionate about life and hopes this blog will provide you with insights and tangible benefits for you and your work. Thank you for reading!
This entry was posted in Development Directors, Donor-Centered, Major Gift Officers, Major Gifts, Mission, Non-Profits, Philanthopy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Change your Mission!

  1. Judy Anderson says:

    For small organizations, that don’t have “development departments”, the paradigm shift is possible–but the methods of showing that Culture of Appreciation, might be a bit different. I too advocate for donor leadership…to bring people with you in your vision, to listen to the community to see what their needs are (beyond your perspective), to see the people in your community as the solution–and not a bank–and a partner. I agree misson statements often need to be re-written; to be compelling and not so over-reaching, to provide an emotional connection and image; to be more humble while inspiring change. That’s part of the paradigm shift as well.

  2. Yes, Judy! Great comments. Thank you.

  3. Pingback: Reasons Non-Profits Fail, Reason #5: A Focus On Power & Control vs. Effectiveness & Opportunity | Passionate Giving

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s