Raise more by selling your impact

I was excited to read Jason Saul’s new book, The End of Fundraising, because a friend of mine who is the president of a local bilingual school recently heard Saul speak at a conference and found his approach to fundraising very compelling. As chief fundraiser for an organization whose prospects pass through a revolving door because their children eventually graduate, my friend is especially keen to learn about how to engage community stakeholders who find value in what his school is doing. I’m happy to report to you and my friend that Saul’s book presented terrific strategies that are grounded in years of first-hand experience.

The End of Fundraising, is based on his epiphany that we are trying to convince the wrong people to support our organizations. In other words, you can only leverage funding from funders who value what you have to offer. While acknowledging that the emotive or passionate donors will always be part of the constituency mix, you must also consider the people who truly value your work and who economically benefit from the social outcomes you produce. If this were the basis for more donor relationships, Saul argues that we wouldn’t have to beg for contributions. Rather, we would sell our impact and leverage rational decision makers. What’s more, evidence abounds in our communities in support of the real economic currency our nonprofit outcomes produce in every major cause within the sector. Be it education, health care, global development and even the arts, we have yet to embrace the market to its fullest potential despite the fact that the market has embraced our work.

To effectively raise funds in today’s economy, you must transact your social impact rather than dance around the edges with quasi-market behavior. Saul says we don’t need a parallel economy for the independent sector; we need to find a better way to play within the perfectly good one we have. This book will teach you to understand the role of social change in our economy; learn how to engage stakeholders; define your impact by outcomes, not activities; determine which stakeholders value your outcomes the most; translate your work into high-value outcomes; create powerful value propositions to increase your leverage; and improve the success of your pitches to funders.

When I asked Jason how smaller nonprofits that might not be able to produce these high-value outcomes benefit from this End of Fundraising approach, he said, “Selling your impact is completely viable for both small and large nonprofits. In fact, many smaller nonprofits (charter schools and social entrepreneurs) are using innovative strategies to produce extremely high value outcomes. However, there are many nonprofits, small and large, focused on a single activity or a fragment of an outcome, such as providing a free meal or a suit for a job interview. These organizations can increase their value in the social capital market, but they will need to reach for higher value outcomes by extending their services or partnering with others.”

Have you experimented with selling your impact? Let us know about it. The first three responses via this blog or to Mail@CausePlanet.org get a free Page to Practice executive book summary of The End of Fundraising.

Jason Saul’s book will help you:

    Define your impact by outcomes, not activities, and learn how to engage stakeholders.

    Translate your work into high value outcomes and determine which stakeholders value your outcomes the most.

    Understand the role of social change in our economy.

    For more information about selling your impact, purchase this book at JosseyBass.com, visit Jason Saul’s website at www.MissionMeasurement.com or visit our Page to Practice library for a complete summary including our interview with the author.

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