Just Say No to Silos
Just Say No to Silos
August 18, 2005
By Abny Santicola
Associate editor, FundRaising Success
Reaching fundraising goals often requires strategic partnerships with various vendors: Web site developers, printers, list brokers and managers, and lawyers, to name a few. But without a strategy that coordinates all these different partners, your fundraising efforts are made all the more difficult. In her session, "Breaking Down Vendor Silos -- Getting Your Vendors to Work Together to Get the Job Done," at the 2005 New York Nonprofit Conference yesterday, Joanne DelGiorno, managing director of direct-response marketing for the American Diabetes Association, was among the speakers who addressed the need for fundraisers to coordinate the efforts of their vendors.
The session looked at the keys to success in balancing vendor relationships, gathering partners to share data, brainstorming and benefiting from communicating organizational goals, and sharing important fundraising information. According to DelGiorno, the following qualities are the secrets to success in breaking down these silos and strenthening your fundraising program:
* Be realistic. Be sensitive to existing "baggage" that multiple agencies might have from prior relationships and deal with them from the get-go to avoid problems later.
* Be honest. Put your cards on the table and be clear on what information can be shared with vendors and what is on a need-to-know basis. Setting these "ground rules" early, DelGiorno says, and maintaining an open flow of communication and feedback can eliminate surprises or awkward moments.
* Be tough. Define your agency's expectations early when it comes to accountability, budgets, strategic planning, production schedules, creative expecations, staffing, etc.
* Be fair. When challenges come up, DelGiorno says, consider the circumstances and try not to rush to judgment or place blame. And when solutions are offered by vendors, give them appropriate credit and "reward creative problem solving."