When beginning work with a new client, we often assess the internal culture. Is the board engaged? Are employees motivated and committed to the cause? Is there open communication between the board, executive management and employees? Basically, does the organization work as a team or is each department wasting time competing and defending turf?
Both our careers began in corporate Silicon Valley and San Francisco. It’s only natural that we often call upon our experiences from the for-profit world and apply them to our non-for-profit clients when identifying “best practices”. Successful companies tend provide great work environments which is often reflected in their bottom line performance. In a 2014 Fortune magazine article highlighting the secrets of successful companies, the chart supports this idea. Too often non-profits operate as group of independent units. Specifically, development and donor acquisition is relegated to the Development Manager. Or, sometimes there is no Development Department and this job falls on the Executive Director or the Board.
We advocate an organization-wide “Culture of Development”. As with businesses, non-profits that engage staff, management and board members, each understands the meaning of development, they buy-in to the concept and understand that everyone has a role to play, will produce better returns. In turn, they will be better positioned to serve their clients and the community.