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Phil Cooke, Ph.D. Headshot

Is Someone Accountable for Your Nonprofit's Fundraising Mistakes?

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I received an email last year with an invitation to "Click Here" to receive a Thanksgiving e-Card from the leader of a major nonprofit. First, the email was so infantile it made me feel like a 13-year-old, and second, the organization was forcing me to do something to receive it. Neither option was interesting to me. Not to mention that I was supporting the organization, not the leader. Then I remembered a friend telling me that she'd been receiving monthly fundraising letters from this nonprofit. Each month she writes on the envelope "Return to Sender" and every month they continue sending her letters -- at who knows what cost.

When nonprofit organizations get large and corporate, it becomes like the government. No one is accountable for the bottom line. No one gets fired. Nothing new happens to move the vision forward.

What about you? Sure we make mistakes. We try things that don't work. That's part of the creative process. But what's the overall fundraising results over the last few years? If it's not good, is someone feeling the heat?

Accountability matters in fundraising. Don't let personal relationships, loyalty or long term employment cloud your vision when it comes to results. The stakes are too high. If things aren't working, you need to act, and act now.