Start Big And Go Small

Start Big And Go Small

What holds you back?

The size of your community? A shortage of volunteers? Not enough staff? A tired Board? All of these may seem like reasons to avoid making a move. To abandon big ideas and toil away at small stuff. Head down with weary shoulders from carrying the burden of too much to do and not enough money. But there is another way to unleash ideas and do more for your mission.

I call it “Start Big and Go Small”.

25 years ago when I looked around the fundraising world outside my organization I noticed Dream Home lotteries. I asked myself – how does a charity build big homes, sell tickets, and give it all away? I immediately saw in those lotteries an engagement tool. Yes, it’s about winning, but it’s also a possibility for engaging a whole bunch of people who may never connect with your cause otherwise. So I watched the Dream Home lotteries from afar for a while and then set out to scale these lotteries that were thriving in communities with over 2 million people.

In a town of less than 25,000 people, I introduced Dream Cottage lottery. It’s a version of Dream Home lotteries scaled to fit inside a small community and an organization with big dreams. It worked! I included all the ingredients of the big lotteries – prizes, tickets, marketing, and staffing – and boiled it down to a project that has been running successfully for over 25 years.

Dream Cottage lottery has been a cornerstone of my success in fundraising. I looked beyond the prizes and saw a project that would engage people with our mission, build a pipeline of annual support, and take root as a viable, long-term project. This month, Dream Cottage Lottery #26 opened. What does success look like after 25 years? These days, it looks like achieving 69% of revenue within the first 30 days and ticket sales are up 12% over the prior year.

Ask yourself – what great ideas or projects are right underneath your nose that can be scaled to fit within your community, wherever you may be? What works in one place can work in your place. It all starts with how you see it. Do you stand in the shadows of the big fundraisers and decide it will never work for you? Or do you take that step forward to scale brilliant projects to fit inside your community and serve your organization? I know there is a great drive to go big. I think there’s an even greater opportunity to go small.

Take a tour of this year’s Dream Cottage by clicking here:

Dream Cottage lottery is one of many projects that I’ve scaled to serve a mission. That’s what I do. I see a good idea and I bring it home. I hear of a new way and I tell someone else. I find a solution and I share it. All of this is a way of thinking, a way of working and a way of living. The best word to sum it up is to THRIVE.

Let’s talk about your future. To connect with Sheree, click here.