When you start your nonprofit, you’ll be asked to design programs, create budgets, figure out how much things cost, and develop a plan to raise money to pay for them.
It took me years to realize that the “cost” of a program isn’t really the total dollars needed to pay for staff, materials, office space, etc. The “cost” of a program also includes the cost of NOT doing a bunch of other things. If you choose to write a newsletter to your members, that means you are not using your time to write a grant proposal. If you choose to spend $5,000 on a fundraising consultant, that means you are not spending that $5,000 on a public relations advisor. For every one thing you choose to do, there is a long list of things you choose not to do.
In economics, they call this “opportunity cost” - the value of the best alternative forgone.
People think that you’re always choosing between good ideas and bad ideas, that the magic of starting something is figure out the “right” thing to do.
It’s not that simple.
More often, you’re choosing between one good idea and another good idea, between the “right” thing to do and the “righter” thing to do.
Be ruthless in the way you spend your time and money. Never let a good idea stand in the way of a better one.