And the Nonprofit Oscar Goes To…

The trophies have been awarded…some erroneously (sorry La La Land). The stars have made their appearance (it’s always great to see Marty McFly and his DeLorean). And now we can debate around the coffee pot about who should have won what at the Academy Awards Sunday night. That, and who wore what on the red carpet.

We love our movies. They are celebrated worldwide. But you don’t have to be dazzling, gripping, tear-jerking or controversial to celebrate your own achievements as a nonprofit doing great things in the world.

I figured this would be as good an opportunity as any to think about, if we could award Oscars to nonprofits, what might some of those categories look like? Here are some awards I would suggest:

  • Best Director. This award honors an executive director or CEO who has provided the vision, inspiration, staff, management skill and support that moves an organization to meet goals and continually thrive. Like a great film director, he/she can coach, oversee casting in finding the best employees, take feedback, entertain new ideas and approaches, and craft multiple scenarios and storylines into a seamless, high-impact final product.
  • Best Fundraiser. Not much of a mystery here. This Oscar is for those who patiently stick with it day in/day out, year in/year out to build relationships and harness donor motivation that keeps the nonprofit operating, viable and growing. The mission of the nonprofit cannot be carried out without meeting the essential need of reliable financial support.
  • Best Supporting Fundraiser. If your work centers on supporting that leading actor…er….fundraiser, through effective marketing, donor tracking, financial analysis or other specialty–always with an eye on the prize of helping your development people succeed–give yourself the little gold statue.
  • Best Editing. This honors the communications pro who can build and run a strategic communications plan that resonates with the donor community and prospects, along with employees, board members and influencers. The editor knows the true voice and appeal of the nonprofit, and stays on message through multiple communication channels and methods.
  • Best Technical Service. As the world moves forward, there are new ways of accommodating donors and adhering to their financial and legacy goals. The nonprofit that can accurately and confidently advise donors on tax implications, wealth management, asset allocations, trust options etc…will make the entire production that much more effective. If that’s you, take a bow for keeping the nonprofit current and responsive.
  • Lifetime Achievement Oscar. You just may be the Robert De Niro or Lauren Bacall of your charitable giving space. Why? You’ve performed memorably over the years: built an organization that has touched many lives and made a difference for a lot of people; allowed people (your staff) to gainfully work at something they care about; shown professionalism throughout the journey.

I can’t think of a better legacy one could leave. Trophy or not.

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