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The sustainable nonprofit: It’s about impact over output

December 16, 2021

Pizza_box_jamesoladujoye_pixabayTalking about outcomes, not outputs: How nonprofits can shift donors’ mindsets on funding

Consider these two scenarios and pay attention to your initial reaction to each:

Scenario 1: You’re making a $50 donation on a nonprofit’s website. Before you check out, the nonprofit asks if you wish to add $2 to help cover their administrative costs. The total cost to you is $52.

Scenario 2: You’re purchasing a takeaway meal, online, and the meal costs $25. At check out, a $2 convenience fee is automatically included, plus you add a $3 tip — and there’s an 8 percent sales tax. The total cost to you is $32.40.

The first scenario is more money, but the $2 added administrative cost is 4 percent of the total. The takeaway meal, on the other hand, has added costs of 30 percent. How many of you read the first scenario and tilted your head, while the second scenario felt like a routine Thursday night dinner?

I’ve worked in and around nonprofits for more than twenty years, and as it relates to inviting people to cover administrative costs, I routinely hear comments like: “Why should I help pay for this nonprofit’s overhead?” My response is usually something like: “Because the emails don’t send themselves!”

Would people feel the same way if donation transaction fees were automatically included, instead of being presented as a choice? They probably would, because we’ve been conditioned this way, and because nonprofits are often woefully behind the curve in how they talk about what they talk about....

Read the full column article by Evan Wildstein, a fundraiser and nonprofiteer in Houston, Texas.

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