Tear Down the Silos!
Solution: Focus — and be measured — on growing your net revenue for program. Whether you need more spending or less spending, the measure of your success needs to be increasing net revenue for program. That allows more flexibility and the opportunity to pounce on new revenue opportunities without getting delayed by budgetary red tape. And, as any healthy corporation would do, consider the impact of making (or not making) an investment not just on this year, but over multiple years.
These occur when you hold stubbornly to the belief that your chapter is unique, your organization is unique, your donors are unique or your market is unique. If other food banks’ donors have higher long-term value, if other hospitals have a larger percentage of monthly givers, if other veterans chapters have a higher percentage of company-matched gifts, it is too often (and too easily) explained away that, “Well, our donors are different.”
My friend Chuck Longfield, chief scientist at Blackbaud, compares it to health care. Can you imagine a hospital administrator saying, “Well, sure they use antibiotics to fight infection at that hospital, but our hospital is different”?
Yet that is exactly what many of us do every day.
Solution: Stop making excuses or settling for what you get. Compare your metrics (e.g., percent monthly sustainers, second-gift conversion) against the strongest results in your category. Determine the specific strategies and steps being taken by the top producer, and do the same thing. This is the lowest hanging fruit available to you and, if done properly, will generate significant net income that you can use to expand even further (if you paid attention to the above solution to budget silos).
Tom Harrison is chair of Russ Reid and Omnicom's Nonprofit Group of Agencies. He is also chair of the FundRaising Success Editorial Advisory Board. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @THarrison53