Achieving Donor Impact Begins With Internal Nonprofit Collaboration
Nonprofit organizations face a handful of challenges on the daily basis. In this incredible nonprofit space, organizations are constantly striving to achieve ultimate donor impact on communities; but are organizational silos increasingly affecting how much impact a nonprofit can make on its community?
This week, I’m in National Harbor, Md., attending the Bridge Conference, and I attending an interesting session, “Managing Internal Partnerships for External Donor Impact,” presented by Shakirah Hill, vice president of digital strategy at Metropolitan Group.
Lately, I’ve spent some time thinking, and having conversations with people, about silos and whether or not they hold any benefit. On one end, silos create a distinction between job roles, and on the other end, they create isolation between teams (e.g. fundraising vs. digital). For ultimate mission success and donor impact (two major goals in every nonprofit organization), internal teams need to collaborate and act as one unit.
How can you get there? During Shakirah’s session, she introduces three tips on how fundraising and digital teams can work together, regardless of different goals and objectives:
- Have a shared definition of success
- Collaborate on data
- Act as one team
Have a Shared Definition of Success
It’s not surprise that the development team that focuses on direct mail will have different goals than the digital team that focuses on online communications. Fundraising and digital teams need to have a shared definition of success; often these teams have separate goals and objectives, which are time conflicting. Fundraising and digital teams need to come together and understand each team’s goals; and additionally, find opportunities to build a shared definition of success.
“Having a strong and robust email list can be important for creating brand awareness. We recognize that, yes, we want to fundraise, but, in turn, as a part of fundraising, we also want to grow our community as well. Can we agree that our shared definition of success is hitting this fundraising goal and hitting the goal of acquiring new donors to the organization?” —Shakirah Hill
Collaborate on Data
The development team will collect different data sets than the digital team—that’s nothing new. But here’s something to think about: How can both teams collaborate on to make it beneficial for both teams?
Shakirah says that both digital and fundraising teams hold data points that could be beneficial to the other team. It’s time to build an alliance between the team by no other than... (drumroll, please!) sharing data points! Teams should be transparent about data impediments and how those impediments will impact other teams. Find the value in data points that your team receives and see how that information can benefit other teams in your organization as well. Doing so will create a very well-oiled machine, which will help the organization as a whole achieve it’s long-term goals.
Act as 1 Team
As we piggyback off each point, this one ties everything together. You can break down silos by having your fundraising and digital teams act as one single unit. To do this, team members have to build trust in each other, which will alleviate territorial behaviors.
It all begins with you.
“In order to build trust, give more than you ask for,” Shakirah said.