When I look at the nonprofit sector and its millions of committed donors and activists, all I can think of is “no good deed…”

Most nonprofits have a fundraising goal that was set when the world’s economy was a different universe.  The non-profit fundraising staff see the goal getting further and further away, and the pressure to make the impossible happen – meet an out of reach goal — is excruciating. Their good deed, working for a cause rather than just the almighty dollar, gets them the reward of an ulcer.

On the flipside, there are their donors and activists.  Under the pressure to reach the unattainable goal, the organization sends out more solicitations, thus rewarding the good deed of the donor by asking for more.  This, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing, but we all know a balance of cultivation, engagement  and solicitation must be kept.  The consequence of compromising that balance for short term gain is a burnt out donor and disengaged activist.

What’s the answer?  Don’t think short term.  This financial situation is looking like it isn’t going to get better soon. Change your goals. Realize that donors are precious assets and care for them for the long term.  It is the only kind of investing that has a chance.