Nonprofit financial cliffs and other tales

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I am very lucky to be able to talk to people every day who think they can change the world.

And just wait until you see the spring edition of Nonprofit Quarterly for more on what constitutes leadership in this profoundly new era of social activism. Make sure your subscription is current.

But just yesterday I talked with Ami Dar of in an NPQ trendcast called “When your Financial Model goes Bust: How Idealist Took a Risk and Pulled Through.”

Idealist, of course, was established to connect people to organizations that were working on causes they care about. In the trendcast, Ami described—with complete candor—the cliff Idealist almost fell off of when its very successful business model tanked with the economy; almost overnight, it began to run losses of $100,000/month. It is an incredibly arresting story with many lessons. In case you were not among the hundreds who sat in, here is a recording.

Suffice it to say that Ami had taken many of the steps that funders urge. He had built an earned revenue model that was completely aligned with mission and dependent on many donors…and still a bad thing lurked around the corner. But what he found was that those relationships built up over the course of many years paid off when the organization’s friends showed their “love” with donations in Idealist’s dark moments.

We are sending this trendcast to you free—as most of our content is—to listen to and to share with your colleagues.

But I do hope you will remember that we can only share this kind of information with even the smallest of organizations when you support us with your donations. Make one of any size today and keep NPQ alive and vibrant as your go-to place for the real deal on what it takes to change the world.