Are nonprofits doomed to always be the underdog in a free market society? The Davids to the Goliaths of the profit sector?
After reading Shvilla Rasheem’s “Master Strategies for how Smart Underdogs Win,” that question sat in my head like a rock at the bottom of the ocean. The answer is obvious – of course nonprofit organizations will be the undergo, and that’s a good thing.
The profit sector makes and sells products people want. It’s commerce, not charity, which makes complete sense why they are top dog. Thus, nonprofits can not expect to compete with these “big brothers”, and most organizations understand that. However, accepting that position and utilizing that position are two totally different things.
“There is nothing wrong with creating allegiance with a giant and walking in their footprint. However, should you find yourself knocking on a giant’s door only to never get an answer, be willing to make your own footprint.” – Shvilla Rasheem
From the article, Rasheem presents two main points: 1) for smart underdogs, their disadvantages become their advantages and 2) when the rules don’t work in your favor, make your own.
I love the last point. Profit sector companies and even large nonprofit organizations have all the resources – who cares. While they may have more than you can offer, you can do things they can not. Ultimately, your nonprofit has advantages that the large corporations do not.
Once you realize that, you need to get creative. Think of unique ways that your nonprofit can find a foot hole in the lives of the people you want to reach. Anything from hand-written notes for volunteers to appreciation nights or simple phone calls to thank donors. Find ways to connect with the public that the big organizations can not.
So embrace the underdog role and relish the opportunity to be David. If history is destined to repeat itself, you will be in good shape.
For more information on how to succeed as a nonprofit, visit nonprofitneighbors.com and sign-up today.
– Brent Lager