Your Reinvention Intention

By Mel and Pearl Shaw

Reinvention intention: the energy, creativity and follow-through that brings change to life.

How is your reinvention intention? We imagine it was high in January. A new year lay ahead, full of promise. Out with the old, in with the new. You could feel the power of potential – you were committed to operating your nonprofit or institution in a new way. You were ready to increase your documented impact. Your fundraising goals would be met; new board members engaged. Your gala would be reinvigorated with increased revenue and attendance. As a board member you would raise challenging questions. As an executive you would partner more closely with your board chair.

What has happened since then?

Now is the time to renew your reinvention intention. Take a look at what has been working this year, and where the challenges lie. Our experience has shown that challenges in fundraising can be due to changes in the environment – something everyone has experienced over the past few years. Challenges can also be closer to home. They can lie in how you fulfill your mission, the programs you operate, the way in which you hold yourself accountable for delivering on your mission. Are you in tune with your donors and potential donors? The stakeholders of the Mid-South? Those you serve? Are your services making an impact, or are you offering excellent services that may not meet a current need?

We often write about the “case for support” and how it is at the core of all fundraising. As a reminder, the case is a short document that communicates who you are, your mission, history and most importantly your vision and projected impact. And, of course, how much it will cost. Do you know your case? Do you hold all members of your organization accountable for delivering on your promise, as outlined in your case? Do you even have a case?

When you know your case, you can discern who you should be communicating with; who your potential donors and funders could be. You can manage your budget against your case – allocating funds toward priorities outlined in the case. You can plan for growth.

But, if your case doesn’t resonate with your donors, funders and stakeholders, then perhaps it is time to look again at your reinvention intention. Are you keeping up with the times? With the needs of your community? Are you doing the same things expecting different results? Do you know your donors and why they give? Do they know your case?

Take a look at your case, your community and your services. Reinvention should be the intention when you need to do things differently.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the owners of Saad & Shaw. They provide fundraising counsel to Memphis, the Mid-South and the nation. Visit them at or call 522-8727.