Wings of Change
“It really does tie into their need to feel good about giving and make a difference,” she adds. “So we’re very happy with what’s come from national [Easter Seals]. I think that this is really evidence that the research was correct.”
All in all, the research findings have heightened the already growing importance within the organization of stewardship and donor relationships. Good stewardship means being accountable to donors and reporting back to them about what their dollars accomplished. Cleghorn says the organization has been committed for years to the idea of comprehensive development, where all fundraising channels — from special events and cause-related fundraising, to direct mail and the Internet — have a role within the organization. In trying to become a more donor-centric organization and improve the quality of its constituent relationships, Easter Seals recognizes the growing need for integration among these various channels, Cleghorn says.
It’s no easy feat, especially given the organization’s structure as a nationwide network of affiliates. It requires rethinking how it manages constituent data and integrating its different lists. This ties into another huge road block — the same silo mentality with which many large organizations are grappling. Various segments of the development department lay claim to “their” donors, and no one wants to share information. Cleghorn and his team are working to level those silos and create instead a pipeline via which donor information can flow through the organization.
“What we need to do is turn all those things on their sides and actually link them together and say that these are people that have a relationship with this organization, they like our mission, they want to touch the lives of people with disabilities — children or adults — or help families who are affected by disability,” Cleghorn says. “And then the pipeline lets people flow freely to the logical place of their involvement with Easter Seals.