Nonprofits are experts at making do.
We pride ourselves on doing more with less.
Small budgets. Smaller staff. Tight control of paper clip usage.
(You’re nodding now, aren’t you? And if you aren’t, congratulations!)
And there’s nothing at all wrong with being careful about how we use the money given to us. We must be responsible and ethical. We also have work to do.
But here’s when we run into problems. So money is tight. And like an armadillo, our instinct is to get defensive and curl into a tight ball.
“Spending must be cut!” decrees the finance director.
And again, that might be cool. Maybe you are spending too much on paper clips. (I really did know of one organization where post-it notes were declared forbidden. Wonder how much they saved?)
But most of the time, it’s a defensive reaction to a situation that you can see coming.
And not spending money is not the same as having more money.
Saving money is not raising money. And you can’t live in an armored ball forever.
It’s simple: cutting spending only leads to less.
Cut necessary supplies, and the work will either look worse or take longer.
Cut staff and the remaining staff either burn out or important work doesn’t get done.
And here’s the important part:
The money you raise isn’t just today’s money.
In the hands of skilled fundraisers, it’s more like a well-tended garden. It could continue to support you for years. Smart spending on fundraising is an investment. It pays off.
Not spending money is not the same as having more money.
It doesn’t support your mission. It doesn’t keep your organization alive.