In the last post, I said that the Annual Fund isn’t annual. Indeed, that’s the crux of this whole blog – thinking about the annual fund differently.
“Well, but the blog is named ‘Annual Fund’ and that’s what everyone calls it – the Annual Fund.”
True statement. We don’t have a better name yet – as an industry. Think how prolific that phrase is in the fundraising culture: Annual Fund, Annual Giving, the Annual Fund Director, Director of Annual Giving and the list goes on . . .
In our very nomenclature we’re telling donors that it’s only a yearly thing.
It’s very, very rare for a nonprofit to go out of business because its mission has been completed. Even those that find a cure, end hunger, house the homeless, place all the animals, create equality re-invent themselves to tackle a new problem or an offshoot of the one they solved.
“General operating support isn’t sexy.” No, no it’s not. But what does general operating support — the annual fund, if you will — really mean?
A colleague of mine says, “If we don’t have the people and the places to run the programs, they don’t happen.”
If we don’t have refrigerators to store food and nurses to take of the sick and stagehands to rig the shows and teachers to teach the kids, we don’t have food banks and hospitals and theaters and schools.
General Operating Support is sexy as hell.