If you can barter, your nonprofit can succeed faster
In Ancient Africa and maybe elsewhere in the world, money as we have it today did not exist. People traded by barter. Trust me when I say this, it works. If you don’t know what barter might mean, I pray you forgive me. I will explain right away. So barter is a system of mutual assistance. In this system, we exchange value for value. For instance, you and I are now of age to own houses and have received land from our communities or families. We both lack the resources to build and so we assist each other. We build yours and then mine. Every one is happy. Works for exchanging other material things like livestock and farm produce. But how does this work in the nonprofit space? We shall address those below.
There is something you are good at
New nonprofit does not equate to incompetent. The person or persons who make up your nonprofit have certain collective competencies that may be in need else where. Those are your offers and you can trade those for other things you need. Let’s say that my organization is made up of tech savvy youth. We are quite prolific in the use of social media. That’s a great skill to have in today’s world considering that most nonprofits struggle in this regards. You can get free resources, training and even partnerships in exchange for managing social media pages of other organizations. Barter functions based on a needs and offers model. If you identify what you can offer, all that is left is to identify who needs you and how to safely navigate this terrain. If you are having a hard time, identifying what you are good at, them, it is time to go build some skill, learn about some top free platforms to learn new stuff, mostly for free.
How to identify a good barter mate
The best barter mate recognizes your worth and is ready to collaborate. This is important to escape exploitation and achieve a good partnership. In my experience, the power dynamics between well established nonprofits and other smaller entities exploits the vulnerabilities of the smaller organization. Hence, ensure that you are getting all that you deserve. Hence, do not be in a hurry to accept any terms. Take your time and think things through. Negotiate and ensure that what you are getting out of the partnership is worthwhile. If you had a chance to choose between monetary rewards and other non financial resources, choose the later first. If you can get both, better.
Insist on a contract
Whatever you do with another nonprofit, please insist on a contract or memorandum of understanding. This protects you and ensures that it is clear what each person is bringing to the table. Trust me, you will always be better off if you make a contract. Ensure that it is not open ended and has clear timelines and very specific details.
Depending on how thin you can spread your resources, more than one barter at a time will do you good. With each successful barter, you have more connections and more experience. Your profile looks better. You are more visible and your organization will appear more credible. Soon, you will be writing your own tickets. If you wish to act on this principle, I wish you luck ad when you succeed, do send us a testimonial. Cheers!
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