Mazarine Treyz, founder of the Nonprofit Leadership Summit, had the opportunity to sit down with Molly Pinney, CEO of the Global Autism Project to talk about growing your nonprofit by changing your mindset. What Pinney has to say might surprise you, as your most profitable fundraiser could be the first thing you should scrap and rework.
Check out Pinney’s tips below on how CEOs and founders who, like you are struggling to raise money to do their work, can grow their organization and raise more money by way of innovation.
Stay on Mission
If you’re struggling with something you don’t know, it actually doesn’t have to be hard. Really take a look at everything that you’re doing for fundraising. Figure out what’s working. What’s not working? We did end up coming up with a fairly successful fundraiser where we went kayaking, and it was a fun event and it was nation-wide. That made us some real money. That helped us break six figures, for sure. But was it our mission? No. Was it sustainable? No. Was it scalable? Kind of.
We actually had to scrap our kayaking event, which was the most successful thing we were doing at that point. We thought, let’s get really serious. One, you don’t know what you don’t know. So be open to learning. Be open to hearing feedback on it. Be open to evaluating it. This kayaking event is my little baby. I loved it. But at the end of the day, it was not the most practical thing.
Connect with Who You Serve
The other thing is I would encourage you to really connect with who you serve and why you’re here. Really connect with that. I think there were several things that were kind of a turning point for the Global Autism Project, one of which was me being diagnosed with Lyme’s disease and not having as much energy as I wanted, and really just connecting with who I was and why I was here and how I was going to use my energy that was limited, and what was really important.
I think when you can just bring it back to the people you’re serving and why you’re here, every single person who has started an organization like this, who has had this vision – every single one has a beautiful story. A moment in time that just completely galvanized you and said, you know what, this is what I’m doing. I think it’s important to circle back to that.
There’s a picture on my desk. It’s a pretty worn out picture, and it’s a kid looking me in the eye. We worked with him for a while, and after several weeks we got him to use eye contact. But I keep that picture on my desk because I remember it was a particularly frustrating day, and like everyone has a beautiful story, everyone has frustrations. I went outside and there was this kid, I kind of picked him up like, “Hey buddy, gotta keep going, man.” And he just took my face and looked me in the eye, and somebody took the picture – I don’t even remember the picture being taken. But she just happened to get a picture of it, and that picture and that moment brings me back to this organization in a way that just helps me keep going.
I think when you’re a founder and CEO of the organization you get kind of bogged down with details and payroll, the payroll taxes, etc. but I can just look at that picture and come right back.
What I encourage everybody to do is to connect with why you’re here and who you’re serving, and from there think about how you can make changes to your organization.
*This interview segment was submitted by Mazarine from WildWomanFundraising.com >>>