The Nonprofit Sector’s Most Pressing Issues: The C-Level Exec’s Point of View, Part 2
While Harrison and Aloma adamantly advised against cutting back on acquisition, McGregor said that Greenpeace actually has cut back its acquisition budget, “but only because of understanding the impact,” he said. “We analyzed all the data and discovered that the numbers didn’t really work out to justify our acquisition strategy.”
McGregor advised fundraisers to continue to try new things and to always keep testing as well.
What the C-level needs from you
“What can development do differently or more of to help you out?” Harrison asked the panel.
Aloma offered these suggestions:
- Better coordination with all fundraising channels
- Stop fighting over credit issues — who gets credit for that donation (i.e., the Web team, direct mail, social media, etc.)
- Develop a master schedule
- Better system software where everyone can speak to each other in a more efficient way without duplication
“Everyone needs to come together and stop worrying about credit,” Aloma said. “Worry about what’s best for our donors and what’s best to fulfill our mission, not us.”
An audience member interjected: “Doesn’t that come from the top, that fight for credit? Everyone wants to meet the numbers and get that credit. That’s how the top evaluates our work.”
“You’re right,” Aloma said. “We often have a bottom-line view. We have to make a concerted effort to change that, though it’s not always easy. There’s a saying that ‘culture eats innovation for lunch.’ This is the culture we’ve created. We have to find different criteria to judge our fundraisers.”
Tandon suggested focusing more on donors: “Know your donor. What gets the donor to give? Learn as much as you can about your donors, and let all the fundraisers across all the programs know those things.”
He offered this advice as well:
- Be married to your numbers.
- Emphasize testing — learning, scaling up, testing up.
- Innovate. “Innovation is needed, continuous improvement and innovation,” he said.
- Be flexible. Tandon likes to say, “I’m married to my wife, not strategy.” Focus on your donors, not you, and adjust your strategy to them.
- “Take God seriously, not yourself,” he said. “A lot of issues slide away when you relax.”
McGregor said that each fundraiser at Greenpeace educates the rest on what he or she does and why to encourage more collaboration, and suggested others do the same. Here are more of his suggestions: