The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

The Devil You Know: Your Greatest Challenge Lives Inside Your Organization

Surprising, distressing, but all too true! According to findings released in the 2015 Nonprofit Communications Report, one of your greatest challenges to fundraising effectiveness is the difference in priorities and perspectives held by you (a fundraiser) and your key colleagues—your executive director and communications colleagues.

Just take a look at these startling differences in goals and preferred tactics:

  • Seventy-two percent of development staff versus only 12% of communications staff feel directly responsible for fundraising goals.
  • Forty-four percent of development staff versus 65% of communications staff feel responsible for community engagement goals.
  • Development staff (along with communications directors) value YouTube more than EDs do, while EDs value LinkedIn more than you and your communications directors do.

As a consultant who’s been the fly on the wall in so many organizations, I’ve come to see such disconnects as the norm. But in most organizations, the existence of the gap and what the conflicts are—must-knows for organizational success fundraising and beyond—remain hidden and dangerous. Because each of those players (fundraising, communications, and your ED) assumes the others are on the same page and acts accordingly.

If you proceed in planning and implementing your fundraising campaigns based on the assumption that your communications partners and ED share your take, you’re likely to be surprised. When they don’t—and launch messages, campaigns, and/or programs that are different from yours—that’s confusing (if not totally contradictory) for the folks you hope will give or take another action.

infographic

via Nonprofit Marketing Guide

Like you—and me—your people hate feeling confused. Confusion is a greedy grabber of time and attention and makes us all feel like something is wrong with us (“Why don’t I get this?”). Ugh. Worst of all, confusion undermines your campaigns.

Instead, dare to be different!

  • Make sure you have a clear understanding of key organizational goals and have shaped your fundraising goals (plus campaigns and tactics) to best support them. Document both elements.
  • Ask your communications director and ED to share the same.
  • Include all three inputs on a simple chart and use it as the focal point of an initial “let’s make sure we’re working together” meeting.
  • Ask the others to commit to quarterly reconnects and ongoing chart updates.
  • Start to close the gap and motivate more of the actions you want.

Go get rid of your devil! I’m eager to hear where you get with this. Let us know in the comments.

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About This Blog

Lisa Bonanno
Vice President of Digital Marketing

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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