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What Could Your Nonprofit Do With $7 million?

Happy “Can You Imagine What Our Nonprofit Could Do With the Money Spent on One Super Bowl Ad?” Watercooler Conversation Day!


Since I’m a Vikings fan, and have no concept of actually cheering for a football team playing in the Super Bowl, I concentrate on two things this time of year: Snacks and Commercials.


Since there’s really nothing beneficial from me explaining my excessive (but impressive!) calorie count I’m about to get into this weekend, let’s stick to commercials.


(Though, side note, can you send me snack ideas? I’m always interested in what folks make for game day, and I’m currently hungry, and am going to spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming about chips today)


From a few funny to a ton of poignant ones – I always love the creativity and risks they take with 100 million+ people watching. Oh, and forking over $7 million for the pleasure of taking that risk during a 30-second spot.


That’s right. $7 million.


What could you do at your organization with a big chunk of change like that?


How many more meals or nights in a shelter could you provide?


How many more individuals could you connect with therapies or counseling?


As much as we can’t get trapped in the “well they have more money and can do these things” mentality, the idea of dreaming big and planning for such an event should be a part of your fundraising plan.


Go ahead - Dream big.


In fact, what a fun reason to randomly call your supporters this week and discuss.


Your donors are not looking for status quo. They look to you and your organization as the ones who are solving some pretty massive issues in your community, and dreaming big with them is a conversation opportunity you can’t pass up!


Asking your supporters what big goals they have for you and your nonprofit will also allow you to gain amazing insight to THEIR ideas, dreams and reasons for their commitment to your mission. And knowing more about your donor’s likes, dislikes and goals will deepen the relationship, allow you to customize asks and keep them up-to-date on projects they are most interested in.


And what a great conversation started over coffee: What would YOU do with $7 million?


It also opens the doors to have a really important conversation about spending gifts, investing in the organization, and the need to increase salaries and benefits to those who help run your programs and services.


In a fantastic bit of irony, I have the honor of interviewing Dan Pallotta on my Podcast today.


He’s been a nonprofit leader/hero who, years ago, finally put the idea of our industry putting to rest the idea of demonizing overhead as part of what we fundraise for and spend money on.


If you have never watched his BRILLIANT TedTalk – CLICK HERE to enjoy. Then IMMEDIATELY send to your board of directors. I’ve used this video at so many board trainings, or as part of pre-work for strategic planning for years, and it always helps spark conversations and different ideas on how organizations can dream a little bigger and be more assertive in donor relationships.


It’s been nearly three years since I dreamt of having a platform large enough to host someone like him, and on the eve of Super Bowl weekend, and all the over-the-top-spending on entertainment, commercialism and visual excess – the time has finally arrived.


And I get an opportunity to talk to the man who set into motion a conversation that should be had with every donor, board member and community regarding how to run a nonprofit, how to encourage marketing and sales as part of your organization’s footprint, and think differently on what your potential can be.


And that type of conversation can be started with your leadership…with a pretty fun starter of “What could we do, if money wasn’t an issue?”


Mark one of your big goals to have audacious conversations about what to ask of your donors, how to reframe the understanding of funding and that investing in people is not at all overhead, and launch new and exciting ways to reach more people.


Sure, it might not be 100 million eyeballs watching you, but it doesn’t mean you can’t work/act like it is.


Dream big.


Me? What am I gonna dream about?


Well, besides the whole "Holy Crap I Asked to Get Dan Pallotta to Be on the Podcast Ask" thing, I'll be taking a cue from my caloric intake, I’d use some of it to hire one of those Hollywood actor personal trainers.


And maybe another order of cheese dip.


Because snacks.


-Patrick


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