Baseball is on to something with their walk-up songs. The familiar song starts over the loudspeaker and the crowd starts chanting your name.  You’re focused.  You’re ready.  I think we all need a walk-up song to get our head in the game, whether heading onto the field or into a big meeting.  That’s especially true as the world, and the nonprofit sector, are in varying degrees of turmoil.  Nonprofits can and must expect a few more revenue curve balls in the coming months (and maybe years).  We need a game plan that we can adjust to the changing realities.

When it comes to revenue, your game plan is your revenue strategy– it’s the people, processes, and systems needed to secure revenue for your organization.  And, now more than ever, your revenue game plan needs to be dynamic.  You have to revisit and adjust it when you make organizational shifts.

Maybe it’s my age, I am a 70s baby, but I think the band AC/DC has some of the best walk-up songs ever including “Thunderstruck” and “Hell’s Bells” as strong contenders.  We actually use the acronym AC/DC to help organizations build or fine tune their revenue strategy when they make programmatic or other organizational shifts.  Last month, we were talking to an organization that had shifted their program focus from serving teachers to serving individual parents virtually.  So, when they did their AC/DC game prep they asked the following questions:

  • Aligned

Does this programmatic shift affect our revenue model? Do we need to reassess and realign our revenue strategy with this new direction?

Discovery:  They had to realign their revenue strategy to this new organizational strategy of directly serving parents.

  • Comprehensive

Has anything changed about where our money comes from? Have we missed anything?

Discovery: They were offering free resources but saw a potential source of contributed income from parents.

  • Defined

Are there processes we need to revisit or develop to make sure we’ve allocated the resources needed to pull this off?

Discovery: They had never requested gifts from parents and families, so they had to define new processes and allocate resources to do the work.

  • Communicated

Does our team know and understand how this shift affects our revenue strategy?  How and when will we communicate additional adjustments?

Discovery: They needed to make sure the program team was in the loop.  To communicate the new request, they decided to add an optional donation to the parent sign-up and 50% of new sign-ups now donate something.

So, look to AC/DC when changes in the game require you to change-up your revenue game plan.  That means asking:

  • Are we aligned with our organizational strategy and revenue model?

  • Is it comprehensive?

  • Have we defined the needed processes and resources?

  • Have we communicated this effectively to our team?

This is the kind of work we help your team do in our Fuel Series workshops, which are now going virtual. To find out more, go to  And, while you’re at it, maybe find your own walk-up song.  I think we just might need it.


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