Five Tips About Working in a Small Shop

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Close to 10 percent of AFP’s membership identify as working in a small shop. This is Part 3 of AFP’s “Five Things” briefs about small shops. The first two were Five Great Things About Working in a Small Shop and Five Challenging Things About Working in a Small Shop.

We asked Tim Brown who ran a food distribution hub in Kingston which provided food for 87 schools for needy students, and Leanne Kopp, CFRE, executive director of Island Prostate Centre in Victoria, to provide insight.

Here are Five Tips for Working in a Small Shop:

  1. Consider minimizing events to focus on higher net return activities: Major gifts and grants allow you to get the maximum impact for the human resources expended.
  2. Keep close contact with donors: One great thing about a small shop is you don’t have to do “mass” anything. You have the opportunity to qualify each donor and speak to them individually, according to their expressed wishes and potential.
  3. Have the board practice stewardship of donors: Stewardship can help the board fully understand the culture of philanthropy within the organization and have a true sense of what our donors look like and why they support the organization on an annual basis
  4. Hire consultants to help fill the gaps wherever needed: An engaged and supportive board and volunteers can help a lot, but sometimes you need external, knowledgeable support. 
  5. Have conversations with your group’s clients as much as possible: Go out into the field whenever you can to talk to the beneficiaries of your work. There are always great experiences to weave into the next ask. In reality, those visits and conversations were the prize for the work we did. It was truly rewarding to hear the success stories.

Please let us know if you have more great things to share about working in a small shop.

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