Today I’d like to discuss the third point which Dan Pallotta addresses in his “TED Talk”: “The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong” (you can find the video here in case you haven’t seen it: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/he/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong.html?source=facebook#.UUgVUSeiOi1.facebook ), which is that the idea of taking risks in pursuit of new ideas for generating revenue is viewed very differently in non-profits versus for-profit companies.
Dan asserts that in the non-profit world, organizations are afraid to take risks in pursuit of new ideas for generating revenue because, if the endeavor fails, the NGO will get a bad reputation (which is not the case in the for-profit world). But as Dan also wisely says, “When you prohibit failure, you kill innovation”. If you can’t raise revenue then you can”t grow, and if you can’t grow you can’t raise even more funds to help the cause for which you are working.
I would agree with Dan’s assessment. I have seen organizations that made a “5-year plan” 10 years ago, which worked, and instead of developing a new plan after 5 years, they just used the same plan again because, “it worked”. But a lot can happen in 5 years … think of all of the advances in technology, and how that has impacted the world of fundraising. It’s not enough anymore for an organization to just have its annual campaign and direct mail campaigns (via snail mail). Organizations must grow with the times. Doing something new is always risky, but by using the same fundraising model year after year, I believe that organizations are not achieving their full potential in terms of revenue or PR.
What do you think?