Last week I was asked to serve as the opening speaker for the Major Gifts track at a nonprofit fundraising conference. In summary,
Mission. The aspect of Mission I encourage nonprofits to focus on is identifying their Mission Gap. Mission Gap is essentially a statement of unmet mission needs. It compares the current reality of those you serve with what their ideal condition would be. For example, if your mission was to eliminate illiteracy in your county, then you would want to know your current reality – how many people are currently not literate. You would compare that to your ideal of everyone being literate. If your county matches the national average, then 20% of the adults there are not literate. If you had a county of 100,000 adults, then your Mission Gap would be 20,000 people. Mission Gap gives you a clear way to communicate the stark challenges your organization faces. Instead of asking for incremental improvements in funding to help a few more people read, you can say “We have 20,000 people in our county who cannot read. It’s a big number and we need your big time support to close the gap.”
Vision. Create a Vision – an ideal picture of what your organization would be like – if you could have it any way you wanted it, so you could close the Mission Gap as effectively as possible. In the literacy example above, we would want to know what kind of capacity the organization would need in order to close the Mission Gap. What would your programs, staffing, budget, etc. look like if you were ideally positioned to close that gap most effectively?
Money. Put a price tag on the Vision. “We have excellent programs that teach people how to read – but we need more programs to reach many, many more people. Here’s what we think it is going to take, ideally, to close the illiteracy gap in our community as effectively as we can. (Describe Vision& Price Tag.) Will you help us close the illiteracy gap by making a $10,000 gift to our annual fund today?”
Mission Gap helps articulate the problem your organization is working to solve and an aspirational Vision can inspire donors to make major gifts which contribute to the solution. Money feeds the Vision and that helps close the Mission Gap. Share your Mission Gap & Vision with others and make even more of a Mission Impact.