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Room40 Group

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The Ancient Art of Data Science

By | Cool Analysis

We think of data science as a modern discipline that came into prominence with the rise of the information age. The term ‘data science’ only goes back to the 1960s – but the practice of collecting information from which you can understand, interpret, and extrapolate real-world phenomena is as old as human societies. The Ancient Egyptians stored administrative data on papyrus; the Normans used the Doomsday book for census taking and tax purposes. But less commonly know is the Incan quipu.

An administrative quipu from 1400-1532. Photo: ©Jonathan Dorado, Brooklyn Museum

Imagine holding a necklace from which hangs a series of colorful, knotted strands. But it’s not for decoration – what you are holding is a database. In the right hands, it could tell you about the lives of the people who lived in the Incan Empire. They could record the census, taxes obligations, payments, dates of rituals- all stored in a 3-D system. More importantly, a series of cotton strings which could be wrapped up was much easier to transport across a far-flung mountainous empire than sheets of delicate paper.

The quipus (sometimes spelled khipu) are known as the talking knots. Made from cotton or other fibers, these color-coded strings are looped into knots, encoding data on a ‘place-value system.’ The main cord would branch off into sub-cords. The kind of knots would represent a specific decimal value, meaning that any number could be represented.

Want to learn to read knots? Here’s a video.

Reading quipus was a specialized position with the knowledge passed down through generations. That specialized knowledge was lost with the invasion and subjugation by the Spanish Empire, who squashed many cultural practices. But there are still plenty of hard-working scientists, historians, artists, and archeologists dedicated to finding and preserving these ancient databases.

Cecilia_Vicuna quipu installation

Image of Cecilia Vicuña’s fascinating installation Quipu desaparecido (Disappeared Quipu). ©Brooklyn Museum, 2018

What can we learn from quipus?

  • At the Room40 Group, we believe that data does not equal information. It’s only in the right hands that the quipus began to ‘talk’ and tell us about the immense data they contained.
  • Visualizing and analyzing data can be an art as much as a science. This a great example of a world of data represented not just clearly, but beautifully.
  • Data can be represented by more than just pie charts. When you expand your perception of how data can be tracked and visualized, you open your mind to innovation.

Map of Students of Color in Higher Education

By | Cool Analysis, Growth strategy

Do you or your organization serve post-secondary students of color?

We can help you find your beneficiaries! We created a visualization of the concentration and distribution of college students of color for one of our clients. Here’s what we found:

Distribution of Students of Color in colleges and universities
  • The individual bubbles represent all colleges and universities in the US that grant at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • The bubble size shows the total enrollment of all students at the academic institution.
  • The bubble color shows the percentage of students of color relative to all students with dark blue being closer to 0% and dark red closer to 100%.

A Quick Guide To Developing New Programs and Revenue

By | Cool Analysis, Revenue Strategy

Jumping from problem to solution to application is very tempting, but you know what they say about assumptions…

We developed this graphic to demonstrate how nonprofits can grow opportunities for new programs to help their beneficiaries or new sources of revenue. Using a multi-step cycle like this one is a great way to organize your project and bring your ideas to fruition.

Develop New Programs Nonprofit
  1. Opportunity Identification:

    Simply put, you’ve discovered a problem (and they aren’t too hard to find), and you’d like to do something about it.

  2. Idea Generation:

    Get creative and put down as many ideas for solutions as you can. Don’t get stuck on your first practical idea and stop there! Embrace wild, crazy, and out-there. You’ll pair them down later.

  3. Discovery & Investigate:

    Put your best ideas to the test. Research, ask questions and expose your designs to as many people as possible. Don’t get discouraged – ideas need to be road tested so you can go back and improve them.

  4. Prototype Development:

    Start putting your plans into the physical space. The goal isn’t the most perfect prototype but one that clearly explains your problem so you can better input. It can be made out of cardboard as long as people can picture what you’re talking about.

  5. Pilot Launch:

    By this point, you’ve cycled between steps 2-4 more than a few times (if you haven’t- get back in there!). It’s a big deal to get to launch your product or service to a broader audience but keep in your mind that you are still looking for the holes and cracks so you can continue to improve.

  6. Later Versions:

    You’ve got an idea, and it works! You can start to think about creating new versions or replicating your program somewhere else as long as you go back to the discovery stage. Don’t assume your idea will work everywhere.

Summer Internship 2019 – Applications Open Until March 13

By | Room40 Hiring, Room40 News

NONPROFIT CONSULTING INTERNSHIP

[Download as a pdf]

We are looking for an intern to support the Room40 team in delivering transformative and much-needed consulting services to our clients. As an intern, you will support discrete projects (“workstreams” in consulting jargon) within client engagements, perform data-driven analysis, and work on internal projects to help Room40 function more efficiently. You’ll be expected to take leadership of your work and reach out for help when needed.

By combining hard work, analytic insight, compassion, honesty, humility, and humor, you will help nonprofit leaders better understand their challenges, see their options, and move their organizations towards a better future. With the guidance of our team of Associates, you will learn a lot, advance your career and have fun doing it.

ABOUT THE ROOM40 GROUP

The Room40 Group is a consulting and advisory group working with nonprofits to help them improve, grow and change. We work hard to delight our clients, help them at critical points in their organization’s development and have fun along the way.

Room40 blends a strategy consulting skill set with the experience gained as nonprofit executives leading organizations ranging in size from $5M to $150M. A growing number of organizations also know us for our revenue analysis, facilitation, and publications like The Map of Opportunity. In all we do, we enable nonprofits to make better decisions, faster.

Founded in 2014, Room40 is still a lot closer to small and scrappy than big and boring. But while we’re young and growing, we’re not new to this. We are built on decades of experience working with nonprofits as executives and consultants. So, you get the best of both worlds — an opportunity to learn from talented, experienced nonprofit leaders and to be a part of defining and shaping our company. Your impact will be significant — for Room40 and for our clients.

And our clients are awesome. City Year, Cradles to Crayons, Citizen Schools, Ceres… and that’s just some of the “c”s!

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES & GOALS

(1) Bring analysis, logic, critical thinking and data to bear to help solve really messy, complicated problems for our clients. This will make up about 60% of your time and will involve some combination of:

  • Qualitative and quantitative research and analysis on individual organizations and the field as a whole
  • Financial analysis, including forward-looking financial projections
  • Attending Room40 team meetings and client meetings
  • Working to support Room40 Group Associates

(2) Make the whole team better (about 40% of your time):

  • Work on internal projects that aim to help Room40 function more effectively. This might involve cleaning and analyzing data sets, drafting content for our blog/social media, or supporting sales and marketing projects.
  • Look to improve. You seek out feedback and set the highest standards for your work and how much you contribute to those around you.
  • Take Room40 and our work even further down the field than all the progress we’ve already made because complacency is boring. And, honestly, it’s so past time for the world to be a better version of itself.

SO, WHO ARE YOU?

You’re the one people like to have around because you’re smart and quick to lend a hand. You see the gap in logic, what needs doing, what has to happen 1st, 2nd, and 3rd to pull off whatever project you’re working on whether it’s a research paper, some sort of analysis, or a gathering of friends. You’re diligent, matter-of-fact and are bothered if the details of your work aren’t right. You like seeing others succeed and doing more than your share when you work as part of a team. You’re excited by trailblazing.

We’re most interested in strong candidates who are excited about the world of nonprofit consulting. This position has the potential to lead to future opportunities at Room40. Internship candidates should at a minimum be in the latter half of their undergraduate career. Since we’re open to future opportunities, we also encourage candidates with a Master’s degree or some professional experience who are looking to make a shift into nonprofit consulting. We are offering extensive training and envision the intern working with a moderate level of dependence on our associates.

Some highlights of what our ideal candidate offers:

  • Must have a strong desire to learn about nonprofit consulting. Ideally, you are considering consulting for nonprofits as a future career path
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Comfortable conducting research and quantitative analysis (you’re not afraid to dive into a dataset!)
  • Excited about working with a small, hard-working team that likes to geek out on data
  • Takes initiative

DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION

We work with diverse organizations and value diversity on our team. Our namesake, an actual place in World War I, was established on the value of diversity of ideas.

The Room40 Group provides equal employment opportunities to all applicants for employment without regard to age, race, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or religion.

We know that it takes people of diverse identities, experiences, and skill sets to solve the complex problems our clients bring to us.

We also know that people perform best when they are comfortable bringing their complete self to work. As such, we are constantly looking for ways to create a more equitable, inclusive work environment.

DATES

We are hiring an intern for 10 weeks, with the option for more time if both parties are interested. We expect a start date around mid-May to early June 2019.

COMPENSATION

When it comes to compensation, we believe in taking care of our people. You will earn a living wage for the Boston area (~$15/hour).

LOCATION

This position is based in Boston, MA.

APPLICATION DATES

If all of this sounds awesome, please submit a resume and cover letter to iwanttowork@room40group.com by March 13th, 2019 with “Internship” in the subject line.

Note that we will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis up until the March 13th deadline.

What We’re Reading – On Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

By | Recommended Reading

Our recommended reads on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

The Room40 team gets together every month for our Issues Club, an initiative we started to discuss intellectually interesting and/or complicated topics that can helps us continuously improve who we are as a team and as a business.

This month, we came back to “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” as an important and ongoing conversation we all need to have in order to create a world where we are living our principles.
Below are some of the articles and videos that came up.

If you have any recommendations for reading, we’d love to hear about them!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - The Danger of a Single Story

"Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person..."

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“I come back to this video because it reminds me how easy our brains fill in the gaps of what we see and hear with our own stories. Adichie makes such a great point that you can only beat the habit by consciously acknowledging it.” – Karena

Standford Social Review Logo Diversity Equity Inclusion DEI

Emily Teitsworth - Practical Ideas for Improving Equity and Inclusion at Nonprofits

Addressing a DEI leadership vacuum at the top of organizational hierarchies is the work of those in positions of power.

Emily Teitsworth

“What I liked about this piece was the emphasis on how people in positions of power can help, even if that means sitting down and shutting up.” – Karla

Vernā Myers - Harvard Business School Has A Diversity Problem — Here’s How To Fix It

Diversity is being invited to the party; Inclusion is being asked to dance

Verna Myers

“This article made me think about the individual responsibility we all have to DEI efforts. In order to see real changes, we must be willing to acknowledge the privileges and challenge the biases we bring to work.” – Liz

Lani Guinier - State of the Black Union 2009

"Merit is something that we find in groups of people, particularly diverse groups of problem solvers."

Lani Guinier

“The most effective and powerful teams are more than the sum of their parts. Instead of assembling teams who share the same strengths, we should choose people who all have different abilities and points of view. If you build an organization of people who think and experience the world just like you, you can create a lot of organizational blind spots.” – Ben

Is your nonprofit recession ready?

By | Revenue Strategy
Nonprofit Recession Help Room40 Group
Is your nonprofit recession ready?
7 Steps to securing the future of your organization

Do you want to know the good news?

The economy is growing faster than it has in years. The United States GDP and equity markets are in their ninth straight year of expansion. Foundation endowments, the assets of individual donors, the investments of many nonprofits: all have been steadily growing for almost a decade. Which means that however hard you and your team are working, your current challenges are happening in a time of relative and sustained plenty. Especially for nonprofits that rely on private philanthropic funding: these are the good times.

But with two-thirds of economists in the U.S. expecting a recession to begin by the end of 2020, the good times may end sooner rather than later. If a flood is coming, it’s time to build a boat.

If you aren’t sure how your organization should respond to a downturn, now is the time to plan. Preparing for a recession takes work but trying to do it during a shrinking economy is much harder. We remember the last few recessions and what it took as Executives to steer our organizations through them. If you want to be ready for bad news when it comes, we’ve got seven steps you can take right now to help make your organization recession ready.

1. Anticipate and craft the narrative

The story you tell about your organization and the importance of its work is going to sound different in bad times than it does in good. Think through how to make the case for what you do in general – and what you will do specifically – when the weather turns. Was your fair-weather pitch all about the future glories of growth, expansion, and serving more people? That’s going to sound jarring when everyone’s investment advisor is running around like their hair is on fire and the front page is full of stories about whether western civilization is falling into the sea.

You will still need to motivate and inspire during hard times. More than ever, you will need a compelling story that fills people with inspiration and urgency to act. You need to show your donors and staff that there is plenty about your organization to be excited about. Don’t let yourself be defined by the things you can’t do or have stopped doing now that the weather has turned.

2. Run Scenarios

No one can predict the future, but you can make some pretty good guesses. Take your budget projections and start running bad news scenarios. If the stock market tanks, donors and foundations will see their own assets shrink. It’s likely fundraising revenue will take a hit. Some ways to run the numbers:

  • Let’s say people say yes to you 50% of the time that you ask them for gifts, what happens if they say yes only 25% of the time?
  • If your multi-year pledge pipeline is looking pretty good now, what would happen if 10-20% of those pledges were canceled?
  • What would happen if payment on 10-20% of those pledges were delayed by 12-months?

Some donors plan to make gifts from the sale of assets. But if the asset’s value is depressed, markets are suddenly illiquid, or buyers are running for the hills, your donors may look to postpone their giving until better times. Even donors with liquid cash may use it to weather the storm themselves or to strategically acquire things they see as undervalued.

If the past is prologue, you can expect that a good number of fair-weather friends will walk away from your organization when times get tough. But the donors and allies most invested in your work will stick around. It is likely you already have a gut sense of who is in this second group. It’s worth talking to them explicitly about what will happen when a recession hits, and how the organization will respond.

Believe it or not, some of your more loyal and invested donors will be open to increasing their giving in a recession, in part to counter-act retrenchment elsewhere. Of course, they will be more likely to do this if they’ve heard a compelling narrative and had time to get used to the idea.

3. Get back to mission-critical

If the economy contracts you may have to as well. If you don’t want to make cuts that undermine your mission, what can you do?

First, get clear on what is central to your mission. It may be a lot harder to outsource or reduce these activities because they are what makes your organization unique. It’s easier to scale back the activities that are less necessary or more experimental. In an expanding market that has people feeling optimistic experimentation is great for attracting the attention of new donors, creating innovation, and inspiring your staff. In a market where your operating budget is getting smaller and people are generally risk-averse, activities that suck up cash without bringing in revenue are activities you should consider scaling back or taking an intermission on. Be clear on what is core to your mission and alternatively what you can hit pause on until the situation improves. What does ramping down look like for your organization?

Remember, you won’t be the only ones falling back to your core. If history is any guide many foundations and grantmakers will experiment with new and innovative programs in the good times but will retreat to the tried and true during the bad times. Don’t be a fair weather friend yourself. The deeper your relationship with your foundations, the more likely you’ll be able to count on them when things get tough.

4. Make Fixed Costs Variable

In every organization, there is a chunk of costs that you can’t really change or get out of in the short term. The biggest one is your people. Layoffs are incredibly disruptive, painful, and demoralizing, even when done well. Fortunately, there are other ways to reduce your commitments as the storm hits.

Review fixed costs like rent and facilities. Long leases may save you money but also represent big liabilities. Three months into a recession, you may happily want to take office space at less rent, but if you are stuck into a multi-year lease, there may be little room to maneuver. Month to month leases may be more expensive in the short term but easier to get out of.

Another option for reducing your commitments is to review ways to outsource activities. Consider this for less mission-critical work where outsourcing would be less expensive and won’t compromise your short-term ability to have impact. Examples relevant to your organization might include human resources, design, website hosting, technology, marketing, or bookkeeping. By outsourcing, you can create more flexibility to scale your level of investment up or down as appropriate.

5. Build Cash

Build a healthy cash reserve in the good times. Once things go south, it’s too late. Did we mention? These are the good times.

For most organizations we know predicting how much revenue they’ll raise next year is an inexact science. We’ve seen many organizations make reasonable projections that later looked wildly optimistic when the stock market crashed three months into their fiscal year. In general, if you’re conservative about the money you project to raise next year, you’ll be in a better spot if the economy turns. Of course, if things go well you can save some or all of that surplus as a cash reserve.

It’s not easy to say ‘no’ to worthwhile projects in order to put cash in the bank. But remember: once the recession hits you can’t help people outside the organization if you can’t make payroll.

How Room40 Can Help

Did one of these steps made you say ‘uh-oh’? Not sure how your organization’s current strategy makes sense in the context of a howling recession? Don’t panic!
Room40 Group can help you with any and all the above. Our founders and principals helped navigate nonprofits through the worst of past recessions and out the other side. We can help you figure out the best way for your organization to face any number of challenges and make plans that will help you feel much better about the future. Get in touch!

6. Take advantage of someone else’s money

Another way to build a cash reserve is to borrow it, especially while circumstances are good. The best time to set up a line of credit is when you don’t need one. Banks need people to borrow and are far more likely to agree to favorable terms when demand for these services is low. In good times banks offer all kinds of incentives to borrow. These incentives disappear with lightning speed once the bad times arrive. If you don’t have a line of credit, now is the time to talk with your financial advisor about finding a loan that’s a good fit. If you do have a line of credit, consider negotiating for a larger limit.

In addition, pre-recessions are a good time to renegotiate your payment terms with your vendors. If you have a vendor that you pay every 15-30 days, see if you can arrange to pay every 60 days. If you ever find yourself in a tough cash position, then having flexibility here means you can hold onto cash longer and have more time to get gifts in before the bill is due. People are more likely to give you favorable terms in a good market. Once things go south your vendors are going to start looking to speed up their own collections.

7. Take Care of Yourself

Stress and isolation for nonprofit leaders are already very real and difficult parts of the job. Fair warning: they don’t get better when the future of your organization is in question.

We’ve talked so far about things you can do to prepare your nonprofit for recession. Equally important is your plan for how you are going to take care of yourself. Those of you who were leading organizations in 2002 or 2008 likely remember the stress and trauma of keeping things going when the American financial system went up in flames. It’s taxing to be the one providing stability and a way forward for others in moments of chaos. So, finding ways to manage your stress and take care of yourself is just as important as anything else you could do for your organization. If how you talk about your organization to your staff and donors is reflective of your stress and fear, then it’ll be that much harder for your message to inspire and motivate.

Do you have a mentor you can turn to? Can you identify healthy ways to manage stress that work for you? How can you make time for those activities or people even when you are completely slammed? Build the supportive network and the practices in the good times that can bolster you in the hard times.

Behind The Room 40 Name

By | Room40 News | No Comments

What’s in a name?

A frequent question we get is about our name – it’s a little unusual. We’re actually named after an organization who came together during World War I in Room 40 of the British Admiralty Building. They brought together brilliant minds from various disciplines to understand how to use intelligence to make better decisions, faster.

One of the successes of Room 40 was identifying that a diversity of skills and ideas makes teams more successful, not less. It was this group of naval experts, linguists, mathematicians, scientists, and professors that managed to crack the enemy code.

Their mission was kept so secret that there still aren’t a lot of details about all the volunteers who came together to gather and process information crucial to winning WWI. Fortunately, our Room40 is much easier to find!

We’re thankful to them not just for their name. Without the Room 40’s code-breaking, we would not be able to celebrate today’s 100th year anniversary of the end of the Great War.

The Room40 Group is a consulting and advisory group that works with the leadership of nonprofits to help organizations improve, grow, and change. Like its namesake, Room40 is a place where smart people come together to analyze data, uncover meaning, and progress toward a greater good.

 

Meet Our New Team

By | Room40 Hiring, Room40 News | No Comments

]No summer holidays for us, we’ve been busy searching and finding 3 new recruits for The Room40 Group Team. We’re so glad to welcome these new folks to our team! We’ve gotten bigger which means we can support you better and develop new exciting insights.

Introducing our new lineup:

Associate Consultant Staff Team PhotoLiz Keeffe, Associate Consultant
Liz recently graduated with her MBA in Nonprofit Management and a Masters in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University. She brings experience in education and community development to the Room40 Group. The Team hopes that her farming experience and love of gardening will save the office plant.

Favorite Place in Boston: Liz enjoys walking along the Charles River with her dog, Tonia.

 
 

Analytics Product Manager Staff Team Photo

Karla Sordia, Analytics Product Manager
Karla brings a unique combination of public and nonprofit experience to Room40. She loves hiking across New England and programming macros in Excel. She has a degree in Economics from the University of Rochester and is originally from Monterrey, Mexico.

Favorite place in Boston: The Minuteman trail, especially along Spy pond, where she walks her dog.
 
 

Marketing and Sales Associate Staff Team Photo
Karena Viehbacher, Marketing and Sales Associate

Karena recently graduated with a Masters in Management from Babson College. She grew up between France and the United States before settling in Boston. Many of her sentences start with “So I was listening to this podcast…”

Favorite Place in Boston: People (and dog) watching from the South End Buttery with a latte and newspaper.

We’re growing – and hiring – and need your help!

By | Room40 Hiring, Room40 News

Hello from Room40!

Things are going great over here. In fact, we’re creating four new positions that will be the perfect fit for someone you just might know. Help us and that perfect someone find each other and we’ll thank you ‘til the end of time. Seriously. Free paperclips every time you come by our office.

We’ve all met those people that make us think, “Wow, I wish I had the right position for you.”  You know who they are— bright, driven, fun to work with. In short, they’re exceptional. You’ve probably met a few of them in your career, but not more than 3 or 4.  Well, that’s who we’re after.

At Room40 we’re known for consulting work that blends the strategy tool-kit honed at top firms with the experience gained as executives at nonprofits ranging in size from $5M to $150M. A growing number of organizations also know us for our revenue and impact analysis— a proprietary, data-rich set of insights that help nonprofits grow, change and improve.

Our team is growing in both areas of our work. We’re looking for

  • an Analytics Product Manager who will dive deep into messy, complicated data sets about nonprofits and their work and later emerge (to wild applause!) with beautiful data visualizations;
  • a Consultant (more senior) and Associate (more junior) to take these insights and help our nonprofit clients use them to change the world for the better; and
  • the perfect Marketing & Sales Associate who can tell these stories far and wide, so that an increasing number of nonprofits learn and improve from our work.

How can you help? We’re so glad you asked! Share the news and help us find those exceptional folks we’d be lucky to work with.  Drop us a note and tell us about them. You won’t be sorry you did. We promise. Paperclips are just the beginning.

All the best,

Ben, George and Anna

The Room40 Group

Turns out you agree: Revenue strategy does matter

By | Cool Analysis, Growth strategy, Revenue Strategy

A stunning 88% of nonprofit leaders* say developing and implementing a revenue strategy would make a significant difference or a tremendous difference for their organization’s long-term success, but only 22% have one.

You’ve heard us say it before: revenue strategy is important.  Like your program strategy, it aligns your organization around a goal, the path to achieve it, and resources it will take to get there.  It sets you up to make the best use of scarce resources as you raise money to support your mission.  (If you’re wondering how program strategy and revenue strategy are different, check out this post.)

Creating a revenue strategy takes time and money – both of which are often in short supply.  So perhaps it’s not surprising so few organizations have one.  But if it’s so valuable, you would expect that organizations would take steps consistent with a revenue strategy, even if they don’t have the resources to develop a full strategy.  There are two metrics that can help organizations allocate their fundraising resources more effectively:

  • $ raised per fundraising FTE, a metric that sheds light on whether raising more money will require more people or more/better support and systems for the people you have
  • Return on investment of fundraising activities, a metric that helps allocate scarce resources among the many possible ways you could raise money

(If you want a refresher on what these are, check our webinar here.)

We asked if organizations are using these metrics and we were surprised by the results:

  • 12% calculate the dollars raised per fundraising FTE
  • 17% calculate the return on investment (ROI) of their fundraising activities

So, what’s going on here?  There’s an approach to organizing our efforts around fundraising that we believe will result in better long-term results, but most organizations aren’t doing it.  There are simple metrics that would move us a step closer to a revenue strategy (and a step closer to best use of resources) but we’re not using them, either.

As data-geeks, that’s a head-scratcher for us.  But we’re astute enough to know that we’re oddballs.  So, it leads us to ask: what conditions need to change for revenue strategy to get the time and attention it deserves?  What can we do as a sector to address this?  A few things:

  1. Awareness.  Like program strategy 20 years ago, revenue strategy isn’t commonly talked about, used, or understood.  It’s hard to find the time, money, and support for something that isn’t common.
  2. Evidence.  With so few organizations using them, there aren’t many stories to tell – yet.  And if you’re looking for irrefutable evidence, that’s even harder to find.  Our instincts and experience tell us its important, but we’re short on evidence and success stories.
  3. Support.  Until Foundations and Boards understand the value of revenue strategy and are willing to support an organization’s pursuit of one, nonprofits will be hard-pressed to find the time or dollars to do it themselves.  It’s just the harsh truth of nonprofits’ access to resources, and the power of the gatekeepers of those resources.
  4. Availability of expertise.  Throw a nickel and you’ll hit a dozen nonprofit consultants (including us!).  How many of those do revenue strategy?  Not many.  And what they mean by “revenue strategy” is different from one to the next.  So, even if you have the support of your Board and the funding to do it, it takes some effort to find someone to help with this, and your options may be limited.  (We’d be happy to help!)

We are thrilled to see agreement on the importance of revenue strategy.  We are saddened to see how few organizations are taking steps in that direction.  But where there is a gap, there is opportunity.  We’re committing ourselves to addressing these barriers to revenue strategies so that organizations make the most of their fundraising resources, enabling them to do more good in our world, sooner.

If we’ve piqued your interest, but you’re wondering “what is revenue strategy, anyway”, stay tuned.  That’s our next post.

Yours in pursuit of more revenue,

Anna, Ben, George and Harleen, aka The Room40 Group

* We hosted a webinar a couple weeks ago all about the importance of Revenue Strategy, what it is, and a couple of steps you can take to get started.  GuideStar was kind enough to host it for us.  We had over 250 attendees.  The stats in this post are from questions we asked during that webinar and in a follow-up survey.