Overcoming the 'Mission Myth'February 17, 2012 By Joe Boland
In her book, "The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business," author Deirdre Maloney addresses this very topic, laying out why nonprofits need more than passion and heart for their missions to reach sustained success. Here, FundRaising Success talks with Maloney, founder and president of Momentum, a firm that helps nonprofits meet their missions through better business, about the book and why it's important for fundraisers to implement business practices so their organizations can thrive.
FundRaising Success: Why did you write "The Mission Myth"?
Deirdre Maloney: I wrote "The Mission Myth" because I think there are specific challenges facing the nonprofit sector that we just don't talk about. The idea that we're giving of ourselves to the greater good somehow creates the idea that the work will be easier, less stressful or less serious. Anyone in the sector, especially those in fundraising, know that this work is rewarding, yes, but also stressful. I led a nonprofit for several years and learned many, many lessons through pain, and I found that helping others learn from my mistakes helped them not only get an edge in their own work, but also validated the challenges they themselves were facing.
FS: How is the book being received by fundraisers and nonprofit professionals?
DM: Because "The Mission Myth" integrates my personal brand of "mild audacity" and is meant to be a very practical, anecdotal and relatable book that both pinpoints the issues and provides solutions on how to work through them. It's been received extremely well. Readers from nonprofit fundraisers to managers to board members appreciate the style, humor and takeaways.
FS: Why is it so important for nonprofits to implement business and marketing best practices, especially in this day and age?
DM: A hard fact for nonprofits to face is that there are lots of other great nonprofits out there. The competition is fierce. Everyone has a mission to sell, and if we don't embrace how to bring in dollars through both the art of donor engagement and the science of systems, organizations will simply not be as effective. Some won't make it at all.