Shift Your Focus

Essentially, growth comes in two flavors: bigger, or better.  What ever your goal, you need to invest resources to hit your target.

The idea of investment over expense was recently brought into focus by a blog post from Larry C. Johnson, titled, "Raising Less?—invest more".  It elevated my thinking to realize that where you place your emphasis makes all the difference.  All too often, I hear something along the line of: "we can't afford to spend money on, or we have not budgeted for: ___________".  With this perspective, the emphasis is on expense rather than investment and unfortunately, it is not a very proactive perspective.  As Larry points out in his blog, an investment returns more than its cost.

I learned a long time ago that it is important to plan your work and work your plan. To that I've added: AND, any plan is better than NO plan.  A budget is a planning tool.  So, I'm surprised by how many organizations I've visited of late that have no budget for critical business functions like: marketing, outreach, or fundraising.  If you don't budget for something, you're not planning for it, and if your not planning for it, then it just won't happen. If you want to hit your growth target, it is important to reach out to a greater audience by promoting your exciting plan and many successes. That means investing resources in those areas.

It is important to distinguish that having some amount of money squirreled away in some miscellaneous account, (especially an account that only one person knows about) does not help an organization plan for an activity.  It is important for all stakeholders to be aligned with strategic goals and those goals need to be visible.  Consider adding a line item for marketing, fundraising, or outreach to your budget.

During these difficult times, we all tighten our belts and unfortunately sometimes many important items are cut because they appear extraneous.  While programming leads to community impact, you can't continue to deliver if funding wanes. If you want to grow and hit your targets, a balanced approach includes emphasis on all aspects of your mission, and that's a holistic strategy.

If you make a concerted effort to think holistically and act proactively by shifting your focus towards investment you will dramatically improve your chances of hitting your targets.

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