I’ve been thinking about Chris Cannon’s blog post “3 Solutions to Prospecting Problems” ever since I read it earlier this week. Chris’s solutions to common issues we face in the development office are these:
- We need to respect our colleagues, honor their experience and their contributions…
- …come up with a good plan …
- …and stick to it. No personal or organizational distractions (to the degree that they can be avoided).
It’s not rocket science, but it’s true. We lose our tempers, we lose our focus, and then we lose our way.
Don’t we accomplish so much more on a personal level when we stick to those three things? Imagine what we could do as a development team.
For me, a lot of wasted potential I see in development shops comes down to communication and training.
“I’ve stopped requesting research,” said one fundraiser to me recently. “It just takes too long to get it back and by the time I get the profile, the visit’s already happened. It’s just too frustrating. Google’s my researcher now.”
“I don’t get it,” said a researcher. “I’m working for four fundraisers and each one asks me for full profiles on people they’ve never met. It takes me two days to do each full profile along with all the other stuff I’m doing, and then when I finally give it to the fundraiser I never hear anything back! It’s frustrating!”
“The researchers don’t understand what I need,” said another fundraiser. “I work with a very specific group of high-level donors in a particular industry. I get profiles back on people in the same industry with wildly varying capacity ratings. I know what people make in this industry and every rating is wrong! I need consistency from profile to profile and an understanding of this industry and what people make.”
“Sure, I would love to go to a training seminar on private equity compensation/lawyers/oil & gas futures” said a researcher to me recently. “We just don’t have the budget for training right now.”
There’s one really simple answer for each of these frustrated people. Do you see yourself in one of them?
Great teams communicate well together. We’re in the communicating and relationship building business, and the communicating and relationship building needs to happen both externally AND internally.
Talk to each other. Respect each other. Make a plan. Do it.
Update: Great infographic on exactly this subject: