Sacred Cows: Battling Ourselves
Here’s a piece of advice on how to navigate this very touchy situation. Don’t put only the experts in charge of this type of decision. In other words, create a committee that brings experts and nonexperts into the discussion, and ask the group to create a recommendation. Sometimes having a “dog in the hunt” can affect decision making, so manage to that very common human dynamic.
Let me be clear on this topic: I hate it when organizations have to lay people off, and I hate when people lose their jobs. I don’t know anyone who'd disagree. However, that’s no reason to avoid tough decisions. Yet, sometimes nonprofits wait until they are in dire straits before dealing with changes that need to occur for the betterment of the organization.
While management shouldn’t spend significant time assessing the structure of the organization every year, it is something that has to be done on a regular basis. Furthermore, some of the toughest changes that must occur often need the assistance of a third party that is not involved in the organization to point them out. Sometimes a new skill set is needed in the organization, sometimes a skill set is no longer needed and sometimes larger change is needed — even across leadership. But by all means, don’t stay the course when a change in structure or staffing would mean the organization’s beneficiaries are served better or the mission is impacted in a greater way.
All of this is easy for me to say because currently none of these situations are in my lap. But I’ve been there. Organizations have to be careful they don’t slip into the easiest, most conflict-averse way of doing business across all the basic areas. In fact, in the end, the lack of decisions or lack of appropriate change will catch up with you — through your fundraising and mission metrics.
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.