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Podcast | What Nonprofits Can Learn From Startups About Scarcity Mindset

Nonprofits are often tasked with doing more with less, leaving fundraisers feeling like they have limited options and resources, which in turn can lead to a lack of innovation and creativity. This is called a scarcity mindset, and it can be detrimental to achieving the results you want to see.

In this episode, we talk with Gauri Manglik, CEO and Co-Founder of Instrumentl, a tech solution that helps nonprofits prospect funders and manage grant applications. Gauri’s background is with startups, but she says her work with nonprofits has revealed several parallels between the two. 


Both startups and nonprofits tend to operate on scarcity mindsets. Like nonprofits, startups often have lean teams that must do more work with fewer resources. However, startup investors seem more comfortable with risks, whereas nonprofit donors want to fund something with a proven track record. Gauri says this difference impacts the way the organizations are run and how leaders feel they can invest their money.


Adopt an abundance mindset around fundraising. Gauri says taking an abundance approach to fundraising means realizing you’re creating win-win situations for your prospects. For startups, investors want to fund the next big thing. Similarly, nonprofit donors want to see outcomes in the organizations they’re supporting. She offers advice for approaching a fundraising appeal from a position of strength. 


When a scarcity mindset can be a good thing. When building Instrumentl, Gauri says her team avoided the fundraising conversation by building a product customers want and will love. She sees an opportunity for nonprofits to do the same by breaking appeals into smaller, more manageable chunks. For instance, focusing on one small program to run or one small way to spotlight impact.

The talent at startups and nonprofits. Both startups and nonprofits are full of hard-working employees eager to see their cause or mission succeed. Some leaders with a scarcity mindset may be tempted to take advantage of employees’ willingness to go above and beyond which can lead to burnout and high turnover. Gauri shares a better way that empowers small but mighty teams to grow and thrive.

Listen to the episode here:

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Learn more about Instrumentl

Connect with Gauri Manglik