|What Works |
Each edition of this newsletter contains a section I call "What Works."
I'm in the process of writing a long article entitled: Why Organizations Thrive. The article details fifteen lessons I learned while growing the Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV), buttressed by my observations of dozens of other groups both in Oregon and across the country.
Collectively, I believe these lessons are a very useful set of principles that any Executive Director can use to improve their organization's capacity to fulfill its mission.
These lessons include topics such as November 2010's lesson: Plan, Plan, Plan and September 2010's lesson: Know and Tell Your Stories.
You can view all of the lessons so far on my website.
Lesson 12 is: Focus on Mission-Driven, not Mercenary Donors.
The dictionary defines a "mercenary" as somebody who fights or kills for money. It is meant to contrast with citizen soldiers who, at least in theory, are primarily motivated by patriotism or a desire to protect one's family and home.
So what do I mean by "mercenary donors." In the narrowest sense, mercenary donors are secured primarily by some motivation other than belief in the organization's mission.
I'm not talking about the motivation of the person raising the money. An article about the dangers of mercenary fundraisers is an entirely separate topic.
But what about the donor's motivation? Does it matter as long as the money flows?
In the short run, the answer is no. That's why election campaigns often rely on mercenary donations. But for an organization that aims to thrive over 3, 5, 10 years or longer, I believe the answer is yes.
Why does the motivation of the donor matter?
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