In today’s age of increased competition and a belief in self-sustainability in the nonprofit space, charities are feeling the pressure to adjust, expand, and to rethink.

While organizations continually need to set aside resources for new programs, too often this search for more leads nonprofits on a path that distances itself from its core values (essentially that beauty that made it successful to begin with) or to choose glitz over substance.

The recent Planet Money podcast “Swamp Gravy” tells the story of a dying southern town that was able to turn its 100+ years of charm and uniqueness into a play/musical that went onto become a cash cow.  In most cases, it’s the general operating revenue that supports the arts.  In this town, after over 20 years of running the show (called “Swamp Gravy”), it’s the exact opposite.

While there are many lessons to be learned from this story, I was struck by how this community was able to see value in itself, play to those strengths and hit upon something that appealed to a much larger audience.

Sure, there’s pressure.  Call a stakeholder meeting, recruit skilled volunteers, or hire a consultant.  Challenge yourself.  But your organization doesn’t have to abandon who it is to appeal to a larger, different, or diverse audience.

Keep the faith,

Shuey