The Cambridge Dictionary describes a bridge as, “a structure that is built over a river, road, or railroad to allow people and vehicles to cross from one side to the other.” Shown is the breathtaking Pennybacker Bridge in Austin, a “through-arch bridge” located on the west side of Austin in the scenic hill country. Click on the photograph to learn more.
I have always thought of nonprofit fundraising staff as “bridges” between their organizations and donors. Development professionals must constantly make connections, translate their nonprofit’s mission and needs to individuals, families, foundations, corporations and governments in such a way that funding is provided.
And I have often found nonprofit program staff – hard working and dedicated – sometimes lack the skills to communicate their good work and urgent needs for funding to a lay audience. This is where development staff shine.
The most sophisticated and affluent donors are experts in the fields where they have excelled and thrived, but they may not understand how your nonprofit works and what it is accomplishing (or what it hopes to accomplish). I have discovered well meaning supporters who have made or inherited great wealth often find the public expects them to be experts on every topic imaginable. But the truth is, they are not!
Never forget this important fact. Do not assume wealthy donors and potential donors fully comprehend what your nonprofit is accomplishing. Development professionals are vital bridges between their organizations and their funding partners. Be mindful of this essential role and take nothing for granted. And let’s hope nonprofit executive directors are mindful of it, too.
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