There are many fun aspects to working with a newly formed nonprofit: a founder’s enthusiasm, the momentum behind possibility, and the opportunity to try something new- to name a few. Contrary to a now languishing belief, nonprofits can behave like start-ups. Often it is fledgling organizations that adopt a start-up mind-set, leveraging their capacity for innovation in pursuit of the most effective way to fulfill their mission. One such organization is Boulder Center for Interactive Learning at Dawson (BCILD). Cultivation Center is fortunate to be working with BCILD to help develop and launch the organization’s first one-year fundraising plan. Building a plan with a new organization is a stirring and regenerative experience where we get to take what we know works and breath new life into it via the start-up spirit. Talk about fun!
BCILD investigates how to best serve the needs of children in a post-industrial learning environment. The organization is at a crossroads in its first year of growth. With a 3-pronged approach to carrying out its work, the organization has the riches for cogent messaging targeted at passionate donors but needs a no-nonsense fundraising plan to help them connect with the greater community. Much like a start-up, the organization is ready launch out of beta mode into serious pursuit of its goal. To do so, BCILD needs proof for its handful of founding major donors that it can diversify its funding base. This is something that any young nonprofit is required to do legally, and must do in order to survive and, ultimately, thrive.
Delivering concepts like design-thinking, or interaction with the arts via technology, to dispersed students is no easy task. In fact, it is an endeavor that can transform classrooms. Fortunately, BCILD benefits from a significant affiliation with The Dawson School, a premiere independent school in Boulder County. Dawson is BCILD’s ground zero for exercising its mission in a resource laden environment while testing student and community learning partnerships. But BCILD’s bigger aspiration is to share its curriculum with all students while creating deeper partnerships between schools and their local community. As founder and director David Sutton says “the entire community benefits when all children are given opportunities to interact widely, and learn vital life skills.” So, at this early growth stage, how do we find donors who are poised to support BCILD’s mission? By pairing the organization’s wildly innovative work with a tool that is proven and reliable: A responsive fundraising plan driven by a calendar of events and supported by by tried and true practices- including ongoing major donor cultivation, a social media presence pointed at specific donor personas, and, of course, saying “Thank you!” a lot.
Among the thousands of socially-purposed organization’s that “start-up” in our “sky’s the limit” business environment, BCILD is both aspirational and promising. If you’re as excited about BCILD as we are,take a moment to learn more about the organization’s work and consider how you might support BCILD as it grows.