Donor Priority vs. Organizational Mission

Any good grant writer will tell you that you need to find a donor with priorities in line with your organizational mission. That alignment ensures that both the donor and the organization are able to mutually advance their cause for the benefit of their shared constituents. However, when donors use their influence to direct organizational operations and programs, the institutional may stray away from its mission and subvert organizational growth.

There is often a clear, undeniable power dynamic in funder and grantee relationships. With organizations dependent on vital funding, leadership may feel that they have no choice but to bend to the demands of significant donors. If your organization finds itself in that position, use one of more of the following strategies to put yourself in a more powerful position:

  1. Create an effective sustainability plan. While you need to depend on grants and other funding, with a plan in place, your dependency will have a limit. Your plan will gradually remove you from dependency into sustainable operations if you stick to it. Need help developing a plan? Contact us.
  2. Focus fundraising on multiple individual donations. If done correctly, a large portion of your funding should come from mass, but smaller individual contributions, not large single donors. This reduces the feeling of dependency on one person and allows you to have flexibility of operations.
  3. Create a transparent organization. Be sure to create transparency before, during, and after large gifts are received to keep lines of communication open and to create an atmosphere of “partnership” as opposed to “authority”.

These and other steps can help you create a more equal environment for donors, organizational leaders, and constituents alike. If you’d like to read more on the subject, take a look at the article here.

Don’t sacrifice your mission for short term funding. Stand up for what you believe in; even with your largest donors. In the long run, your organization and constituents will thank you for it.

Happy Fundraising!

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