Once a successful development office is up and running and firing on all cylinders, it helps to create a sustainable advantage. Follow along with the diagram that is included to understand this concept.
With significant resources available, an organization can strategically build strength as well as competitive advantages. Here’s how it works.
With increased resources, your group or organization can attract outstanding staff. Whether the resources that an institution secures are from the government, another institution, or philanthropy, it stands to reason that a well-funded initiative needs to have outstanding staff conducting the work. After all, going to the next step with the initiative and with the overall organization calls for hiring the best people. And strong staff will come to an institution and stay with funding available.
This results in a growing positive reputation which draws clients to your organization. As the organization’s reputation is seen as increasingly positive, it will attract the attention of new clients—whether they are students, patients, patrons of the arts or clients of any type interested in your organization. Maybe not immediately, because it takes time for the word to be shared, but it will gradually increase until it reaches a tipping point. Newspapers will begin to notice, community organizations will notice—the word will be out, people like to talk.
A larger client pool will increase enrollment or the volume of activity. Once the word is out, clients will begin to engage at a stronger rate in the services offered by the organization and volumes will increase daily, weekly and monthly. The more people engage with the organization, the more satisfied they will be with the services, level of staff, and the reputation resulting.
This will help motivate and retain staff. Staff members enjoy working with a successful organization. Assuming that the organization grows at a rate that is fast enough, employees and their supervisors can help to craft responsibilities in a way that satisfies the staff members and helps the productivity to increase, with morale increasing at the same time.
Fundraising efforts and organizational goals become more sophisticated and successful and further improve the organization’s reputation. These steps all affect the fundraising program. As success continues, more people will be attracted to support the programs. For development this means more contacts with the prospects and donors to the organization, more community leaders becoming involved, fundraising programs become more interesting. The impact is more clearly felt by everyone. There is more reason for development officers and leadership to reach out to the community and vice versa. All the while the organization’s reputation is being further enhanced and relationships are being secured.
A stronger reputation inspires more donors to become involved and increases their willingness to invest in your organization. There is no doubt that this is true and it can be seen across the community in many organizations that have grown over past years. Donors enjoy being associated with organizations that have the smell of success. These organizations are accountable and professional. In an unsettling world, donors are proud to invest in an organization that can report a strong impact and fully use their own investments.
Increased philanthropy will continue to provide investment in the company’s vision. It will spark others to do the same—as one investment does encourage another. Again, through another organization, through governmental support and additional philanthropy, the cycle will continue all over again.
One of the values of a very major gift—potentially a transformational gift of multimillions of dollars—is that it can actually accelerate this process, shortening the timeline for an organization and for a program. Such resources have the ability in and of themselves to create a sustainable advantage.