Center Yourself to Make the Most of 2020’s Innovations
As we venture full steam ahead into 2020, the world around us feels chaotic in many ways. So much seems to change every day — from the effects of climate change, to the political landscape, to constant advances revolutionizing our work.
Through it all, YOU — the social good community — stay committed to your important work, regardless of the environment in which we find ourselves. Amid such constant change, it’s more important than ever to center yourself on your goals and commit to the best practices that will carry you through changing times.
In this article, I’m sharing a few core practices our sector should commit greater focus to in 2020 in order to navigate this change and make the most of the technological innovations reshaping our sector.
Each and every action you’re undertaking as part of your role must tie back to impact on the mission. While you know the high-level vision for what you’re working to achieve, understanding how each part of your work is measuring up can be more complex.
Data analysis offers a useful way to start. A mix of quantitative data from your systems and qualitative insights can help you get a fuller picture of the impact of your work.
Don’t be afraid to examine your work through an honest lens, listen to what your data is telling you and rethink the areas that aren’t aligned. Sometimes, the most useful thing you can learn is what’s not working so that you can pivot your resources in a different direction.
Know Your Audience
Social good supporters are committed to staying in the driver’s seat of their engagement. To welcome their commitment and let them lead their supporter experience, you have to understand your supporters and meet them where they are. Give them the options to give and engage with you the way they want!
You should know who is in your database and how to segment your communications to reach each person on an individual level. Data-backed personas can create a more complete picture of your highest impact supporters and allow you to focus your time and energy accordingly.
Today’s supporters are savvier and increasingly critical of where, how and for what purpose their information is used. As privacy legislation like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation becomes the norm across the globe, your organization must proactively implement best practices in privacy and security.
Doing so will not only enhance your organization’s risk management, but also bolster relationships with skeptical supporters.
To successfully navigate the digital world in which we find ourselves, organizations need to realign at every level around the mission. For leaders, this means taking ownership of the digital transformation process and embedding it throughout the organization.
For others, this means thinking about how every role can be more transparent, as well as how the possibilities of technology can facilitate greater efficiency and efficacy.
The old model of separate teams operating in silos leaves supporters feeling confused and disconnected from your mission.
In a world in which donors want to control the ways they support the causes they’re passionate about — and where donor retention is more important than ever before — a constituent-centered organizational culture is the only option.
The one thing I know for sure about 2020? Change is bound to keep on coming. To ensure that you can continue to deliver your mission using the latest tools and strategies, you must be nimble and willing to adapt as you go.
Be hungry to continue discovering what you don’t know, and welcome both successes and failures as opportunities to learn and improve.
As you continue your remarkable work throughout 2020, I hope you will keep these practices in mind to keep you centered — no matter what
Ashley Thompson is the managing director for the Blackbaud Institute. She is responsible for driving Blackbaud’s extensive research, thought leadership, and best practice content.
Through this role, she builds thoughtful strategies and solutions for the philanthropic sector utilizing the most comprehensive data set in the social good community. She also manages internal and external relationships for the Institute, including the convening of the Blackbaud Institute Advisory Board.
Ashley is active in the Austin community and participates in numerous groups as a volunteer, active board member, and collaborative partner.
She is a regular contributor to sgENGAGE, serves on the Giving USA Editorial Review Board, and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.
Follow Ashley on Twitter at @AshlyThmpsn.