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Revenue and Finance
Money is the ultimate, hard, cold measure of support for the mission, vision, strategy, and performance of the organization. If any of these are weak or poorly communicated, the organization can’t raise money on a sustained basis. So that’s where it starts.
The sources of money for mission driven organizations are many – foundations (grants and investments), individuals (donations), groups (donations and awards), governments (grants, fee for service), and even retail operations. Most organizations have a history and tradition that favors one over another, as well as certain mechanisms over others (appeal letters, events, project proposals, etc.). In non-profit organizational work, managing revenue (“development” and more recently, “advancement”) draws more focus than any other topic, with the possible exception of Board management.
How well the money is managed and spent is the other side of this coin. This is of course important, and yet has drawn far more scrutiny in recent years than is warranted for most organizations.
If you are a donor, do you prefer:
- an organization that is excellent at vision, strategy, and execution, and average at expense management, or,
- an organization that is average at vision, strategy, and execution, and excellent at expense management?
This is a false choice, for the purpose of making a point: money spent wisely is usually more important to the fulfillment of a vision and strategy than is money spent efficiently.