The role of the non-profit organization has transformed in many ways as society and the values inherent within that society also change and transform. The ability to create an organization with purpose and a sense of a greater duty is what makes the non-profit sector of exchange such a unique and important facet within the constructs of our society. The purpose of this essay is to address a situation where a recommendation is needed to determine the best route of approach for raising funds for a hypothetical nonprofit agency.
The background of this case deals with selecting between two options of fundraising method to improve and increase community services. This general situation is encountered by most nonprofit organizations and provides a solid background for discussing the ideas and principles inherent within the public sector. The first option imposes a user fee for individuals who currently request assistance. The second option, includes planning a fundraising dinner that targets the affluent community including politically connected individuals and several members of local government.
To help determine the best approach to this problem this essay will suggest that if possible a combination of both approaches is preferable, but in the absence of this option it is best to utilize a strategy concurrent with the aforementioned option 2, plan a fundraising dinner. To explain this decision, this essay will compare and contrast these options by examining through 4 different qualities that are integral for nonprofit organizational success. First the essay will examine the budgetary aspects of the two options. Net the political aspects of this decision will be evaluated before looking at the choice from a public perspective. Finally the two choices will be compared to how they best fit the ethical attitudes and philosophy of the organization.
Importance of Strategy
Before explaining the specifics of this particular situation, a fundamental proclamation of the important aspects of nonprofit managing need to be introduced to help guide the decision making process in determining the best selection between the two options. The idea of strategic outlook within the nonprofit sector of society needs to be amply addressed by all members of the budgetary staff in order to determine a correct guide or framework to operate within and provide the necessary boundaries to create and explore within.
Frumkin & Kim (2000) elaborated on the importance of strategic positioning and how finance can benefit from its placement. They wrote " for organizations that work with disadvantaged populations or that seek to provide a service for free or at a subsidized price, contributed income is often a critical ingredient in their financial strategy. Today, there are few entirely donative or entirely commercial nonprofit organizations In the face of tight market for contributions, many nonprofits have attempted to alter and diversify their funding bases from predominant reliance on contributions toward a more balanced approach that includes earned income."
This evidence suggests that a combination of both options may work best in this particular situation, but only if the strategic outlook dictates that such a strategy can be accepted and practiced throughout the organization. While option 1 is down-up approach, option 2 reflects a up-down approach where funds stream downward towards the intended population. It is this budget director's opinion, that a synthesis of these two options would be preferable, in the absence of such strategic guidance, option 2 remains the preferable choice to raise funds and maintain an allegiance to the organizational values and ideals.
Regardless of the option selected the importance of the strategic outlook of the nonprofit organization itself is paramount in creating subtasks and missions that reflect the essence of the purposes that were implied in the organizations creation and functioning. Nonprofit organization management differs in many ways in the fact that these purposes guide the larger strategy and not simply raising funds themselves as solution to a problem.
Fiscally, option 2 provides greater budgetary flexibility for the aims of the organization. As the Budget Director, it is my intention to look after both the short-term, and more importantly the long-term well being of this organization and by aiming our fundraising efforts at the more affluent and politically connected, it becomes obvious that a higher ceiling is present and that more opportunities may exist to grow the efforts in more economical and efficient means.
Bray (2005) suggested that individual supporter can provide a literal wealth of resources that may serve the needs of this organization in more financially sound manner than attracting grant money or government money. He wrote " from a practical standpoint, recruiting individual supporters is particularly worthwhile, because their donations come with very few strings attached. While a grant from a foundation or the government may yield your organization a lump sum of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, such grants can come with enough restrictions to significantly hamper your work and paperwork requirements that you may find gobble up precious staff time." The less paperwork and the simpler the processes results in a more economic, and hence financially fertile, organization that can maneuver with more freedom, choice and creativity that lacks within other methods of fundraising.
While both option 1 and option 2 seek to attain the resources of the individual in some fashion or another, option 2 is still preferable due to the flexibility of those wishing to just make a donation and be done with the process. Option 1 inherently attaches more strings to the operation due to the people receiving the resources dictating how these resources are to be managed and eventually distributed. While this collective ideal is understood and admired in some ways, it is not the most economic manner of operating a nonprofit organization of this type.
In discussing the importance of the financial aspects of this decision, they are only a portion of the larger situation. The focus of this decision lies in what is best for the organization, its objectives and the manner in which it conducts its business. Kaplan (2001) reinforced this idea when he wrote, " success for nonprofits, should be measured by how effectively and efficiently they meet the needs of their constituencies. Financial considerations can play an enabling or constraining role, but will rarely be the primary objective, ' (p.353).
The decision to incorporate option 2 as the preferred choice in this essay lies heavily on the political aspects of both this organization and the general nature of public management and donations. It is my understanding that organizations are political in nature and each one's success depends upon the ability of the leadership within that organization to align its objectives and goals in harmony with the political forces that provide supplemental support to those ends and objectives.
By allowing the fundraising event to take place, option 2 bases itself on sound and reasonable assumptions that prescribe success towards their implementation. Higgins & Lauzon (2003) suggested that the event fundraising approach is prudent in situations that this organization finds itself negotiation. The wrote " it is often in the preparation of events, as well as participation in them, that personal networks are enhanced and a sense of community engendered. Because nonprofit organizations serve to connect citizens and organizations within a community, successful events can facilitate a celebratory function, promote social cohesion and inclusion for volunteers, staff and participants, and bring together a cross section of the community on behalf of an important community purpose, " (p.363).
The inclusion of the governmental representatives within the fundraising event provides another angle of analysis for the selection of option 2. The idea of political partnership as a means for success is well documented as a pathway to achieving nonprofit aims and objectives. While option 1 addresses the politics of the individual who seeks our services, this scattered approach is not efficient. Convincing one or two state senators in a focused and direct presentation is a better use of political resources and energy in general than the prerequisite standards inherent in option 1.
Option 2 is a better selection when looking at this politically because it is aligned with much research and literature on the topic of why people give to nonprofit organizations. There are basic assumptions within the realm of nonprofit organizations and public management as to why people give their resources away to another cause other than their own. These ideas include that these organization are intended to meet critical and basic needs of the society, to simply give back to society in a sign of appreciation, a spiritual belief that helping other with less, to bring about desired personal result such as a tax break or a social reward not weighed in money or monetary means.
There are other reasons as to why people give that suggests a political awareness within the is environment is key and pivotal to achieving success.. Vesterlund (2006) agreed when he wrote " the classical model of charitable giving relies on a series of assumptions, some of which may be a…