Thursday, June 23, 2011

BIG’s Blog: The New Golden Age of Fund Raising: Getting Rid Of Silos

The Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip of the Day (see below) from Friday of last week was perfect for my continuing series of blogs on The New Golden Age of Fund Raising. Virtually every nonprofit fund raising organization I visit is divided into two silos: direct response fund raising and charitable gifts (also called major gifts).

JUNE 17, 2011
You Can Prevent Silo Thinking

If you do your job well, and everyone else does their jobs well, everyone succeeds, right? Wrong. In fact, in any organization, it's not only important that everyone do what they are supposed to — everyone also needs to work together. Don't let a silo mentality take over your company. Recognize that you are all responsible for each other's work and if there is a problem anywhere in the organization, everyone fails. Refuse to allow people to go to their separate corners. Encourage people to meet regularly to share what they are learning. Have the courage to call out when one part of the organization is struggling and find a way to fix it together.

The Management Tip of the Day admonishes us to not let silo mentality take over the organization. “If you do your job well, and everyone else does their jobs well, everyone succeeds, right? Wrong.” What’s missing? How about working together?

I am perfectly aware of the historical reasons why direct response developed separately from charitable gifts and why they developed separate working silos. But was that ever the optimum?

Today, virtually all fund raising organizations with substantial direct marketing (direct mail) programs are only connected to charitable gifts through their donor database. And in some egregious cases, these two groups actually have separate donor databases. They have separate staffs, agendas and financial goals. Not only do they not work together, but the silo mentality in many cases actively forces them to work against each other.

This makes no sense to the mission of Development.

Fund raising is hard enough without battling over turf and donors.

There is a lot of talent in nonprofit fund raising organizations, but, to be an effective team, these two silos need to merge into one integrated organization and start working together.

This Harvard Tip of the Day is a great reminder.

Think I am wrong or naïve about how deadly silos can be to an organization? Below is a short story link from the author of the above Tip of the Day blog about silo mentality.

Solving Your Organization’s Open-Face Sandwich


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