How important is the information your charity uses to sustain itself? The information we refer to is found in donor gifts and interactions, funding research and grants, sponsorships and planned gifts.
This information is an asset. We can add to this asset by including all the tools that an organization builds to perform its fundraising activities. These tools take time to create, they reflect the organization and they are built at a cost thereby having value. When we hear that information is dull we wonder who is dull, could it be the person who doesn’t understand its value?
How can information be dull when it tells you so many things that enable a charity to react in a timely manner; address a donor at a critical time; enter into discussions that result in a major gift or build a planned giving program with committed donors?
This information is hardly dull it is a charity’s lifeline.
When information is not well tended it gets lost, it’s incomplete, it results in a charity looking less than credible, and it puts the charity at risk.
No matter how important staff members may think they are to a charity, they do change. They move to new jobs and what do they leave behind? In many cases, very little is left for new staff to work with and this loss is a setback to the charity. How many setbacks has your charity experienced? We suggest you look at staff changes in the fund development department and see how it has impacted over the years.
If you took everyone out of your fund development department today, how credibly would your organization be able to continue its fundraising activities? We use the word credibly because the loss or inaccessibility of information also pays a toll.
Story: The new fund development manager came from a high tech company. She met with a key donor for the first time. They discussed the donor’s interest in the charity. She asked if he would be attending the Christmas gala … I always attend came the response. Would you be interested in being a sponsor? … I am already a sponsor was the answer.
For an asset that is called dull … we begin to understand dull is not the right word … essential and valuable is a better way to look at it.
The next question is “whose responsibility is it to manage this information”? We think it is the charity’s responsibility backed up by some very well defined job descriptions that ensure staff members know what is expected of them and how those expectations address the charity’s most valuable asset, its capture and retention.
Dull is not the right word; under-estimated would be more accurate.
From Chaos to Control moving your charity to a High Performance Organization