There’s an old sketch on the show In Living Color from the ‘90’s where Chris Rock plays a homeless character who goes into a store and asks how much different products are.

In the first situation, he asks how much a pack of gum is and the guy behind the counter says, “Fifty cents”.

The homeless guy responds, “Good Lord, fifty cents!! That’s a lot of money!”

After some calculating he says, “How about I get 1 piece for ten cents?”

The convenience store clerk, obviously annoyed, goes ahead and gives it to him.

Then the homeless character goes over to a pack of soda and asks how much one can is which the clerk replies, “Seventy-five cents!” (this was obviously a long time ago :).

“Good Lord, Seventy-five cents! That’s a lot of money!”

After some banter from the clerk about him getting a student loan he says, “How about I give you Sixty-Eight cents and you let me suck out all the bubbles?”

As funny as this sketch is, it’s really a glimpse into the mindsets of many fundraisers and nonprofits. They aren’t walking into a convenience store trying to get a deal, but when it comes to investing in donor acquisition, nurturing, and deactivating campaigns they might as well be.

It always amazes me when a multi-million dollar nonprofit scoffs at the idea of investing money into Facebook or some other digital acquisition tool, only to spend millions of dollars on things that don’t bring a bottom line return to the growth of their nonprofit.

If we are going to change the world, its going to cost something.

This kind of get-something-for-nothing thinking has to change in the nonprofit space. The bigger nonprofits usually get it. They have an investor mindset and are willing to put their money where their mouth is and invest in the right tools and people to get the outcome they desire…which gives them the impact in the world that they desire.

Look, you get what you pay for. You can always hire cheaper vendors. You can always get something for nothing.

But, if you get something for nothing, what is it really worth to you?

If you’re not willing to invest in donor acquisition, why should donors invest in you?

Why do you think its ok to not invest in your donors?

Study the Greenpeace’s, Samaritan’s Purse, Save the Children’s of the world.

They all have an investor mindset. They understand that they cannot impact the world without fundraising.

Fundraising isn’t a necessary evil. It’s a foundational principle for the success of your organization. It’s sowing and reaping. It’s learning how to receive, so you can learn how to give. It’s partnership.

Fundraising creates impact. Not the other way around. You can have great impact, but its limited by your ability to fundraise. If you can’t fundraise, your impact will be minuscule compared to what you could be if you developed the skill and investor mindset of a true fundraising organization.

We have to change this bassackwards thinking in the nonprofit space and come into alignment with the concept of investment.

If we’re asking our donors to partner with us, why aren’t we willing to invest to find, nurture, and build relationships with them?

Sure, you can do it on your own. You can try to figure it out and do it on the cheap. To “look” resourceful to your board. To seem like you’re saving money.

But, at what expense?

What are you willing to give up to find your ideal donors? What are you willing to sacrifice to hit your impact goals over the next 5 years?

Let’s get real. Let’s change the mindset of this space and level up to a whole new way of thinking so we can make the greatest impact this world has ever seen.

If you and your organization are tired of the same old, let’s hop on a call and get your fundraising fixed.