Book Preview: “Yours, Mine and Ours”
Many nonprofit organizations find themselves existing in a sector that is rapidly expanding and becoming more and more competitive. This new environment has given rise to a far more discerning and demanding breed of donor, vitally interested in reshaping the ways in which he or she does business with nonprofits.
In his useful book “Yours, Mine, and Ours: Creating a Compelling Donor Experience,” Barry McLeish offers sound advice to nonprofit leaders on how to go about attracting and maintaining donors in this new and challenging charitable landscape.
“What nonprofit executives can do is to prepare themselves for different environmental and organizational possibilities in the days ahead in which new levels of competition will constantly breach old rules of operating,” McLeish writes.
The U.S. population has a robust tradition of giving massive amounts of money during major tragedies — from Hurricane Katrina to the terrorist attacks in the United States Sept. 11, 2001 — but it is donating less and less to nonprofits in general.
McLeish argues that’s because the new field of donors is no longer willing to put up with the hidebound and hierarchical nature of its relationship to nonprofits — where, for instance, the donor merely complies to a nonprofit’s request to write a check and send it off in the mail — and instead is seeking out ways to make giving as interactive, informative and personally empowering as possible.
“Working with donors who wish to go their own way has proven difficult for some institutions,” McLeish writes, “particularly [for] many mainline agencies used to telling donors how they should handle their philanthropic pursuits.”
To thrive these days, nonprofits must embrace operational models that take pains to incorporate donors’ needs and values, and that allow those needs and values to exist in equipoise with an organization’s.
“The net effect of balancing these two often seemingly contradictory groups,” McLeish argues cogently, “is to create organizations that have the capacity to truly serve society, supportive stakeholders and organizational members simultaneously.”
“Yours, Mine, and Ours: Creating a Compelling Donor Experience,” John Wiley & Sons, 224 pgs., $39.95. www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-047012640X.html