Investors…Donors and Ethan Austin

04/10/2011 at 10:02 Leave a comment


Ethan Austin is someone I respect and proud to call him friend. He co-founded Give Forward, an organizations that empowers friends and family to send love and financial support to patients as they navigate a medical crisis.

He recently launched a new blog called Startups and Burritos – to know Ethan is to know his love of all things burrito…but his views on starts-up, social enterprise and investors is equally important.  His post, How Many Investors is Too Many? A Template for Seed Rounds is an interesting read.

I repost here to support Ethan’s new blog and because his post had some interesting correlation to our work in fundraising. How many donors are too many? Is there such a thing? I would agree with Ethan – the right donor investors during a crunch is better than your entire donor file.  Controversial perhaps – but read on.

I know nonprofits who have declined contributions from investors or should have.  I know organizations who spend time with the wrong donor investors focusing much of their time at the bottom of the fundraising pyramid versus spending some time determining which donors to the annual fund should be lifted. As well as spending the right time, with the right donors cultivating and stewarding a great, strong relationship. We all know a balanced fundraising pyramid is critical to nonprofit success. But to get there, we, as nonprofit, fundraising professionals also need to know who we will truly invest our time, so they can, in turn, invest with us to make a difference, step up during financial challenges AND most importantly celebrate success.

So if you found yourself in a similar challenge to Ethan’s – trouble that needs help – do you know which donor investors you would call for help? Who’s your “A” team? Willing to respond quickly, giving you what you need – advice or dollars – not no questions asked per se, but in the fray with you.

I would suggest if you don’t know who those donor investors are – determining who these angels are (and fast) should be a priority. If you want to focus some time – focus on identifying, cultivating and stewarding these special investors in good times, so when you hit a challenge, they are in the trenches with you.

Read Ethan’s blog and think about your donor investors – who would you call?

Entry filed under: Fundraising, Nonprofit fundraising. Tags: , , , , , .

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