On Being Nimble

It's the best time to be a fundraiser. Every cause has the tools to make itself known and to build a community of fans in this networked age. 

However, as you try to shift your focus from start-up to sustainability, no matter how many years your cause has been in start-up mode, there is no absolute paradigm for mapping the business model you need for the future. This forces you to be creative and your donors to be willing.

What remains consistent is your commitment to your mission and the quality of your brand, a charity your donors can trust. 

How can you be an expert in a changing world? How can you discern what is useful and what are obsolete ideas from an earlier version of the world? 

Venture capitalists will tell you that many really good start-up ideas look like bad ideas at first. Change that matters usually comes form an unforeseen quarter. The best strategy is to simply be aggressively open-minded. 

You do need a development plan, mostly because it's there to motivate you. But you must be disciplined about not letting your hypotheses harden into anything more than elements of your flexible planning.

Include select donors among the people with whom you exchange ideas. Good ideas come from earnest, energetic, independent-minded people with no agenda -- all mission. Change is accelerating. Ideas beget ideas.