Like any business, nonprofits can often face difficult decisions when it comes to expansion. Growth opportunities can be exciting and present a group with the ability to serve more people in need. However, there is always an associated risk involved. Does the organization have the cash flow to cover the increased expenses in the short term? Will the organization be able to support the increased investment over the long haul?
Nowhere can this be more prevalent than in the introduction of new staff. Hiring a development director or executive director can increase an organization’s ability to fundraise and broaden the reach of its message. However, it can take months before new employees are fully up to speed, and sometimes it may be a year or two before they are able to make their position revenue neutral and start providing a positive impact on the nonprofit.
This is why the Murdock Trust will regularly help fund a new staff role when an organization has a thoughtful plan for growth. These grants are designed to help cover the initial costs of onboarding a new staff member, with the expectation that the nonprofit will be able to generate increased revenue over time to cover those costs. (These grants are commonly structured in a stair-step model over the period of a few years with funding decreasing each year. For more information on our official grants process, please visit our website.)
One shining example of the impact of this type of investment can be found in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. In the mid-2000s, Habitat for Humanity of North Idaho recognized the need to bring in an executive director to oversee its operations. In a relatively short span, the organization was able to move its Restore facility, which sells recycled and donated hardware and homebuilding supplies, to a much larger facility. With the expertise and guidance of its new ED, this organization saw a five-fold increase in revenue.
This jump made it possible for the organization to serve more local residents who were either homeless or living in sub-standard conditions.
The Murdock Trust Staff was able to tour the new Restore space during a recent visit to the Coeur D’Alene area and meet with one of the recipients of Habitat’s efforts. “John” is the father of two children and is currently going to school to secure a career in the construction field. He invests two days a week building his own home alongside countless Habitat volunteers. After spending winter months living in a small camper, John’s family will soon move into their own three-bedroom home.
We are so proud of the work of organizations like Habitat for Humanity of North Idaho, and we are grateful to serve and support their mission.