Geared Up for Growth
I spent seven years with the American Cancer Society, and at that point, well over 90 percent of the planned gifts that came into that organization came from people whose first or early gift to the organization was through direct mail. So the long-term payoff of the origin source of direct mail is really a necessary component to having a complete picture of what the value of mail is to any organization.
AM: … There is a component of this that’s about all of us — staff, people who are working hard every day either in an agency or a nonprofit. Marc, what’s your thought on keeping our staffs where they need to be to be able to move the marble forward?
MP: I really love “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” — the seventh habit being sharpening the saw. [Author] Stephen Covey talks about two lumberjacks trying to cut trees. They’re in a contest. One of them kept stopping and sharpening his saw. The other one just sawed all day, and his saw got duller and duller and he had to work harder and harder and became less effective.
All too often in nonprofits, we as staff members and board and leaders get really into, “We just have to produce, produce, produce,” and we never take the time to do the metrics or the testing to see if the production is worth it.
It’s important to take the time to have a staff retreat, professional development, go to a conference or a virtual conference like this, or blogs … That’s the stuff that keeps us sharp; it helps cross-pollinate ideas. Give yourself and your staff the space to do that. I’m a real fan of prioritizing professional development and making it easy. There are all sorts of ways you can get that.