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What Would You Do With $3.5 Million?

February 4, 2013

Clearly, if Skechers had $3.5 million extra dollars hanging around, they would use it to purchase a spot during the Super Bowl. That commercial would end up being one of my favorites, featuring a man outrunning a cheetah in pursuit of a gazelle, thus saving the gazelle from what looked like certain death.

I’m thinking that the end-game Skechers had in mind was a little more than “my favorite commercial.”  Just guessing they are after new purchases and massively increased brand awareness. The point is, Skechers built the funds into their budget because they had a more strategic objective in mind. There is never a $3.5 million check just sitting around for whatever.

We asked you last night on Facebook what $3.5 million could do for your organization. The “what would you do” question is one funders often ask potential grantees during exploratory meetings.

If funding is the bear standing between your organization and success, do the decision-makers at your nonprofit even agree about what your organization would do if an unexpected bequest came in the mailbox?

Quite often, there is not alignment within your organization. Disagreement may not be a bad thing initially. It’s the conversation that is important.

The “what would you do” question can help guide strategic thinking for your nonprofit. It’s a good question to throw on the table when you have time for a hearty 30 minute discussion at a board meeting. See how closely your answers align with each other and with your existing strategic plan (if you have one).

If you don’t have a strategic plan, for Pete’s sake, come see us. We can help you work through the process of getting one. Whether you’re working with the  Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, or on your own with a consultant, what’s important is that you have a guide for the big issues facing your organization and your greater mission.

This way, you know when to say “yes,” when to say “no,” and when to adjust your strategic plan when environmental conditions around you are changing. You also know exactly what that $3.5 million is going to do when it arrives expectedly…or unexpectedly.

I’m willing to bet that Skechers has a plan. Next step: figuring out whether that Super Bowl commercial delivered.

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