Nonprofit: Beggar or Avocate?

I’m often asked to provide council to nonprofits on how to raise funds or write grants.  Sometimes I wonder, would a nonprofit be more profitable if it adopted an attitude of advocacy instead of an attitude of need?



I’d like to try an experiment!  Here’s the concept and what will be needed:

(a)  Host:  A Host volunteers to provide a venue and invite others to participate as Presenters. The Host may or may not choose to be one of the  Presenters and may choose to provide a tour of the facility/venue as part of his/her service as a Host.
(b)  Presenters:  Various individuals are invited to an event which is not a fundraiser but an opportunity where they are one of several who have been invited to share their gifts, passion, and creative ideas regarding how one might impact one or more social issues  (see “Want to Make a Difference” tab on this blog).  Each Presenter is allocated the same amount of time for his/her presentation. 
(c)  Guests:  Guests are invited by the Host based on lists of invitees that are provided by each Presenter.  Invitations stress that this event is not a fundraiser!  Due to the capacity of the venue the number of guests that can be invited will be determined by the Host; each Presenter will provide an equal number of potential Guests to be invited.  If the Host chooses to also be a Presenter than he/she may also be included in the creation of the Guest invitation list and may invite an equal number of Guests.  Once the initial invitation has gone out from the Host, each Presenter can follow up with his/her potential guest.
(d)  Misc.  Refreshments and coffee etc. are provided as a joint responsibility of the Host and Presenters with each donating funds and/or refreshments. 

Post Event: 
1.  Guest list:  The Host provides each Presenter with a list containing the contact information of each guest that attended; not those invited, just those that attended.  This listing will include each Guest that attended regardless of who initially provided the individual’s contact information.
2.  Funds:  Funds should not be obtained as a part of the event.  Each Presenter hopefully would have explained the proper procedure by which he/she might obtain funding and/or support as part of his/her presentation. The Host can (should?) reemphasize this as part of his/her welcoming/closing remarks.
3.  What’s Next:  The Host can (should?) as part of his/her welcoming/closing remarks encourage both the Presenters and Guests to host another such event.  The Host might send a “thank you/what’s next” email or note to each Presenter and Guest emphasizing the possibility/potential of hosting a similar event.

We’ll that’s my experiment. Thoughts? If someone in the DC metro area can provide me with a venue I’ll gladly become the first Host! Shucks, if you are not in the DC metro area but want me to come to your location to help you Host such an event, let me know…we’ll work it out.

Would a nonprofit be more profitable  if it adopted an attitude of advocacy instead of an attitude of need?



Leave a Comment

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