Sacred Cows: Battling Ourselves
Sometimes I reach out to friends in the industry and ask, “What’s running through your mind these days?” Often that’s how I end up with a blog topic. This week’s topic happened just that way. A colleague of mine had a conversation with me about how her organization seemed to be more interested in making decisions that are best for the organization and not best for the donors.
Yep, it happens. Even worse, sometimes it is very obvious the nonprofit is choosing itself versus choosing the donor. So as we compete to drive the greatest donor experience, create the best offers for our supporters and communicate to build the best relationships, sometimes our own sacred cows get in the way.
We’ve all been there or seen organizations go through these challenging times. Sometimes sacred cows are obvious, and other times they are not. But we all have them. Heck, we even have them in our personal lives. Most people prefer some type of routine. Those routines create patterns, and before long we’re all saying, “Well, that’s the way we do it.” So an organization that has some sacred cows is not a bad organization. Also, not all sacred cows are bad. But there is a time where all sacred cows need to be examined, and yes, sometimes it’s time to put them to rest.
Below is a view into the most common reasons nonprofits choose their own interests over what is best for their supporters — and, of course, some ways to think through these issues and come out with the right decision.
Whether you are a health charity, social services, arts and culture, or another mission type, we can all agree that the world has changed over the last 20 years, 10 years and in some instances five years. Science has advanced, community needs have changed, knowledge has improved and, perhaps most importantly, consumers have changed. So if you are still doing a program that you created 20, 15, 10 years ago, how do you know it’s still working? How do you know it is still meeting the need?
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.