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Three Ways to Lift Your Nonprofit Mission in Uncertain Times

Wednesday, February 14, 2018  

By Aly Sterling, President, Aly Sterling Philanthropy 

Today, many of us feel like uncertainty is the norm. 

And the noise. 

From new tax laws and bubbling financial markets to fake news and political divisiveness, there’s no shortage of distractions clouding our view of the big picture. If we allow ourselves to get wrapped up in the spectacle we risk creating plans and making decisions based on speculation.

That is why now, more than ever, it’s important to stay focused on the real and universal duties of life on Earth. 

As individuals, this means we’re still making dinner and doing laundry and taking out the trash. As nonprofit leaders it means we’re still serving clients and stewarding donors and balancing the budget. A roiling stock market should not stop us from mailing thank you notes in a timely fashion. A new face in the White House should not stop us from carrying out an annual appeal.

Planning and executing on the fundamentals of fundraising is the only way to succeed, in good times and bad. As it turns out, the best ways to “make hay while the sun is shining” are also the best ways to “weather any storm.” While “change is the only constant,” the daily work of life and mission still needs to be done. 

There are no shortcuts to creating a community of dedicated donors and volunteers. There is no substitute for strategic vision and implementation.

Likewise, here are three ways nonprofit leaders can lift their missions in uncertain times:

  1. Focus on relationships. Cultivate donors at all levels with the goal of bringing them closer to your mission.
  2. Share your story with everyone who will listen, in every way possible. Is your case for support up to date? Are you using social media to reach younger donors?
  3. Listen to your donors, your clients, your community. What do they need to get closer to your mission? How would they like to see their impact grow?

Now is the time to renew your commitment to your mission. Review your current fundraising plan and look for opportunities to expand and strengthen your reach.

Change is all around us, as it always is. But if you stay committed to the fundamentals of fundraising, we’re confident you’ll succeed in all you do.

Not sure how to get started? We can help.

Aly Sterling Philanthropy is a full-service consulting firm specializing in building sustainable solutions for nonprofits. We provide fundraising, board governance, strategic planning and executive search services to organizations of all shapes and sizes. Visit for more information or email

225 W. Wacker Drive | Chicago, IL | 60606