Grab Your Partner!
But as the program and partnership builds, trust your consultant. Be willing to test and push out to help the program. The best creative and campaigns are developed in partnership — and on both sides you learn, grow and share all the successes and "less than successes" as well.
Our firm has been working with a nonprofit for a little more than a year now. We handle all of its direct mail, including on and offline. The people there are a great group and do fantastic work, but they have a small staff and limited resources like many nonprofits. They wear a bunch of different hats and are working very hard for the amount of work we do with them.
It's a good partnership except for one area: approvals. Because they are small and lean and their executive director likes the opportunity to review and approve all e-mail/direct-mail pieces, we find ourselves pushing our vendors and missing print deadlines.
We've worked to build in tons of extra time into the production process and do our best to keep things on schedule, but it seems we are always playing catch-up or asking a printer or the lettershop to do "one more favor." Without question, they are the clients and we'll work to make sure we keep projects and campaigns moving and on schedule. We always approach partnerships with that attitude. Except, we now have a few lettershops and printers who indicate they don't want to work on this particular client anymore because of some of these issues.
We don't want to lose the client, but we also have to find ways to keep our other clients moving on time and keep the lettershops of the world willing to work with us. Any ideas?
So, I'm a fundraiser having a mid-life crisis. And that's perfectly fine with me.
I am taking time to look around, lift my head and find REAL people who really want to change the world. And people smart enough to do it. Join me in this fun journey. I have no idea where we will end up - and that is the beauty of it. I'm nonprofit passionate, a hopeful world changer, and always ready to share what I know, learn what I don't, admit when I can't, and ask the hard questions.
While you're looking around for other areas of inspiration, check out The Moth Project at themoth.org (the podcasts are AMAZING), TED talks (doesn't matter which ones - find topics that interest you) and Volunteer Voices (again - love the podcast) written by volunteers from the Peace Corps. Don't see the immediate connection to being a better fundraiser? Just listen, you'll hear the message ...