09 — We will build a sustainable revenue stream

We know that we must break through the starvation cycle and take control of our revenue stream so that we are not constrained by resources, overworking our staff, and piecemealing our efforts. We will use our new approach to build a revenue stream and run a sustainable and healthy organization.

The difficult truth is that the social impact sector is under-resourced across the board. Grants and budgets rarely reflect the true cost of work and overhead needed to build and run sustainable programs and operations.

Social impact organizations are forced to settle for unsustainable resources and do their best with what they have, overburden their team, and piecemeal their efforts — which only holds back their ability to create an impact and realize their mission.

Although we live in a global society of tremendous wealth and prosperity, it’s more clear than ever that the distribution of this wealth is tragically unequal across our population.

Wealth is accumulated and reinvested for personal gain rather than social progress — often in the very corporations and industries wreaking havoc on our environment and reinforcing the structures that prevent the underserved and underrepresented from attaining equity and upward mobility. You may even be directly or indirectly working to address some of these important issues.

But by understanding the attention economy and building a solid digital strategy and platform, you can break free of the typical starvation cycle that many social impact organizations fail to escape.

You can advocate for your true costs and demonstrate to your network that your cause is worth their time, attention, and resources. And you can build the opportunities, the coalition, and the infrastructure needed to redirect the flow of funding to your organization.

This model opens new pathways for diversifying your revenue sources and multiplies the effectiveness of any existing streams already in place. This is truly a case where a rising tide lifts all boats.

Once this begins to coalesce, a path forms for creating or growing a membership program or recurring contributions. Major funders and institutional foundations accept introductions and remove barriers to entry that seemed insurmountable before.

Revenue from your products or services grows month over month. The large gala or major capital campaign becomes less critical for reaching and expanding your annual operating budget because revenue flows and grows steadily throughout the fiscal year.

The pre-information-era charity believes that the starvation cycle is unavoidable and sacrifices their focus and values only to settle for unsustainable funding. The future-thinking social impact leader knows that they can use their platform to build a sustainable, consistent stream of revenue to power their organization.

10 — We will lead the conversation