Maybe your organization benefits from the support of existing funders, who provide guaranteed support each year to cover all needs. Maybe your organization benefits from an endowment or reserve fund, that generates significant interest income which can be applied directly to all costs.
Or maybe your organization, like many organizations, exists and survives through a combination of donations, grants, program revenue, fee-for-service income and other sources.
In good times, development encourages your organization to identify resource opportunities that enhance your revenue base. In challenging or uncertain times, development enables your organization to prioritize lines of income that protect your operations and programs.
Development is not linear or time-specific. It is organic, dynamic, and evolving. It is based not only on what works for your organization, informed by past experience. It is centered on what’s appropriate, relevant, and sustainable for your organization, informed by good strategy, sound principles, and clear focus on what your organization wants to achieve.
By creating primary and secondary income streams, some organizations gain certainty and flexibility for good times; while building insurance to navigate bad times.
For other organizations, however, developing multiple income streams can divert resources and attention from what already works.
When existing income is guaranteed, why bother creating more work for your organization? Because there is never any harm or risk to exploring new resource opportunities.
Realizing the options available to support your organization and its work can help to confirm the strengths of your existing development work. Knowing the alternatives accessible to your organization can provide insights and perspectives on existing trends and emerging themes among stakeholders within your field. Monitoring where funding is increasing or decreasing can help inspire your future development plans.
Your organization may not be interested in knowing what resources exist outside its existing field. As long as your organization has confidence and certainty in its level of support, the incentive to seek new and differnt forms of support will be understandably low. If any doubt exists that your organization can, and will, thrive regardless of circumstances, it is worth looking at what else may be available.