The Fantasy of Zero Risk, High Return

Starting or expanding a fundraising program is exactly like launching a small business (or a big business in some cases). That means there needs to be a capital investment. There needs to be a clear brand and well-defined “customer market.” There needs to be disciplined marketing messages. There needs to be a remarkable product.

Perhaps most of all it needs to be understood that the level of risk is commensurate with the level of return.

And here is where fundraising programs differ from small businesses in two big ways.

First, the expectation of return is astronomical. A program that generates 90 cents on each dollar invested amounts to a 1000% ROI. Most small business owners who can manage to eke out a 10% profit are over the moon.

And at the same time, there is an almost zero tolerance for risk.

Higher ups want to raise a lot of money, very quickly, with no downside risk. They might as well be demanding rainbows and unicorns.