How to Raise Money for the Operational Budget…. “Overhead”

We often think it is easier to raise money for a special project; however, the most special thing about any organization is it’s people. Putting their passion, competence, and stories center stage makes a great case for support.

The most critical aspect of any organization is its people and what they make possible. Nothing wonderful happens without a creative, committed team.

This is not about salaries. This isn’t about overhead. It’s about your heroic staff, creating amazing arts programs that transform the people you touch. The end results of your efforts is the story you tell in your fundraising pitch. That’s not self-serving! Your CEO talking about the lives you change is not self-promotion—it’s the beating heart of your mission. Say it loud and proud.

If I were at your arts organization, I’d tell an incredible story about one child touched by a single performance. And I’d say what made it possible was my small, dedicated team. With a donor’s support, more of that magic can happen.

You raise money by talking about the impact of your work—not about budget line items. If a donor demands to see the numbers and asks about pay, tell a great story about one of your staff to illustrate my point: that nothing wonderful happens without a creative, committed team.

The bottom line: Don’t be afraid of talking about your people. They aren’t overhead—they are change agents. If they do great work, put them front and center in your stories of transformation. To use a theater term, they deserve center stage.

Some content taken from Katya Andresen’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog, May 11, 2011


About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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