Staying Connected to Take on 2021
The social good community is defined by its unwavering commitment to the notion that good can take over. The incredible work continuing across mission areas is a testament to the dedication of so many professionals who have committed their lives and careers to social good. As we look ahead to planning for the new year, it’s important to look back and remember how, across the span of a few months, the events, goals and benchmarks we set for 2020 were quickly uprooted.
Facing a year like no other, we altered the day-to-day operations of our institutions. For some, this has magnified existing cracks in the foundations of our practices. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic upended the world, many social good organizations were affected by the same operational problems that all sectors experience: disjointed strategies, siloed teams and competition for limited resources.
While the pandemic adds complexity and uncertainty to our operations, an engagement model rooted in those kinds of organizational dysfunctions can be more detrimental than ever before. As we continue engaging our constituents who meaningfully impact our missions, we must structure our organizations to be radically collaborative and transparent. From reducing your manual processes through workflow automation to thriving in remote working environments and embracing new platforms, organizations must adhere to a new focus on delivering strong digital experiences to their stakeholders.
A focus on donor retention and stewardship will advance your cause and keep your organization resilient through challenges. You will also want to be sure that you are speaking to your stakeholders through the channels and platforms they are embracing. Consumer behavior continues to show itself across the social sphere, making it increasingly clear that individuals are more eager to sit in the driver’s seat of their engagement. The acceleration of avenues like crowdfunding, do-it-yourself and peer-to-peer fundraising will continue to be cohesive components of overall fundraising strategies. Speaking to individuals on a one-to-one versus a one-to-many level, these campaigns continue to gain traction, connecting people to the causes they care about through the channels they regularly use.
An organization’s success in these arenas lies in leading their staff and stakeholders. Whether you are leading your organization through shifts in your day-to-day operations, moving your in-person programming online or heading toward a full digital transformation, you must be prepared to support the donors, followers, supporters and networks who advocate for you best. Although our minds may try to steer us differently, we need to be even more communicative and collaborative during crises.
Communicating about the needs and understanding the realities that your community and staff are working within will help you find tech tools that match their access and skill options. Just as the challenges may have changed, so, too, have new challenges been presented to your staff and community.
Thankfully, there are steps every part of the organization can take to move past barriers and focus on what really matters: driving greater good. By leveraging technology to stay connected across teams, the benefits are endless — stronger supporter relationships, increased internal efficiency, the ability to secure more funds, more gratified employees, greater outcomes for our missions and more. As we plan for 2021, many of us are still navigating how to incorporate degrees of virtual work culture and virtual events. In embracing this “new normal,” we must eliminate operational silos and radically rethink how our teams collaborate to create a better world. When we can unleash the power of collaboration across our teams through technology, we can drive more of the social good that will be crucial as we embrace 2021 and another year of unknowns.
Editor's Note: This "Techtalk" column was originally published in the November/December 2020 print edition of NonProfit PRO. Click here to subscribe.
Catherine LaCour is CMO of Blackbaud. She is responsible for Blackbaud’s global brand and marketing, corporate communications and other strategic functions, and is passionate about delivering an outstanding experience to Blackbaud’s customers in their missions to build a better world.