4 Steps to a Productive Partnership
The merger shifted the entire team's reporting to the senior vice president for university advancement. But most importantly, "the shift introduced a trifold charge to the newly merged team — supporting fundraising, recruitment and overall institutional branding — which, in time, significantly enriched its donor profiling strategy," Schipper says. "Nothing says more about the success of this merger than the fact that we'll be closing out our large and successful capital campaign within the next year."
The results are strong, even at this early stage. Schipper describes a greater awareness among her colleagues of what outreach is under way, and increased ability to coordinate themes and timing.
In addition, she cites the unified team's single focus as the source of its increased impact in transitioning the university's board members, alumni and other supporters as potent ambassadors. Lots to learn from here.
3. Identify what's working and do more of it
I learned this sage strategy from Chip and Dan Heath, authors of "Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard," who advocate this (surprisingly) unusual focus as the most reliable pathway to positive change.
A proven strategy of doing so is to ask your marketing team to identify the top three successes from the fundraising team and integrate those approaches into its own work. And vice versa.
Don't forget to identify what isn't working, and do less of it. Try this: Each team gives the other a "free pass" to make any single change to each other's work, without protest or arguments, for a week. If your marketing director can make only one change to a fundraiser's direct-mail letter, what will it be? And what single change will the development director make to the marketer's website copy?
This exercise forces each team to focus on what is truly most important, gives each some level of control and encourages both to better understand each other without arguing over the merits of the requested change.