Can We Talk About What 'Not Interested' Means?
3. We can't afford anything new
This is my favorite but probably the hardest issue to resolve. The scenario is that a new idea is presented to test and the test is designed to improve your results — but you can't afford to spend any money on trying to improve your results. This is a real problem.
If the budget every year is built upon the control program, then there is enormous pressure on that money to do it all. It would be easiest for me to say that every nonprofit should have a research and development budget that is set aside for doing testing. But, in all my years, I also know how difficult it is to do this.
I believe this is one of the toughest issues — and I also believe this is where agencies need to come to the table and make early investments to reduce the risk. The most common issue is if budget is spent and the test doesn't work, it's easy to feel that those funds were wasted. Learning that something doesn't work is still valuable, but it must be at an acceptable cost.
Agencies and nonprofits need to work together to find ways to advance programs without breaking the budget. Nonprofits need to identify areas where small reductions in budgets can fund new ideas, and agencies need to create investment-friendly approaches to pushing new ideas into the market (which eventually helps all nonprofits).
The next time you're tempted to say "I'm not interested," I highly recommend you break that down and understand what is really holding you back. Sometimes it really is the wrong time, not in the priority, etc. But, if you feel like what is holding you back is described above, then I suggest working on the real problem.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.