The other day while I was at a stoplight I quickly reached over to my car stereo to change the SD Card. I keep different genres of music on different cards and I was in need of something different. As I did so, I had a flashback to 1990. In 1990, I had a big case of cassette tapes on my passenger seat that I had to rummage through in order to listen to what I wanted (I was slow to embrace the Compact Disc). I’d listen to music, sequentially, for roughly an hour before I had to switch tapes again or do a rerun. I had an Alpine deck at the time, which had cool features such as ‘Auto Reverse’, so I did not have to flip the tape over to play Side 2. It was pretty cool, but by today’s standards I was in the Dark Ages.
Does your small organization operate in the Dark Ages? If you are not sure, I will give you some key indicators:
– Do you keep your donor records in an Index Card box?
– Is your organizational General Ledger edited on an actual paper ledger?
– Are your Gift Acceptance Policies written in pencil?
You get the idea of where I am going. Although you are working in a small organization, it is still important to embrace technology and adopt best practices. This is not merely for the sake of doing it, but rather because you and your organization can get more done and be more efficient and effective.
Have you ever wondered why so many big organizations are so successful? One of the key reasons is that they understand the need for embracing technology and best practices. In the small organization it is critical that we follow suit. For example, you should consider implementing a CRM system (donor database) in order to raise more money. In the small organization we don’t need Raiser’s Edge – there are many more systems that will meet the need and be more cost-effective for you. Before deploying a system, consider the cost of ongoing licensure AND training. If you need suggestions feel free to email me. Also, developing a major gift program will help you move supporters up the donor pyramid and produce more resources for your mission. Lastly, communicating with your donors in a way that works for them will help you build more quality relationships and ultimately raise more money. This doesn’t simply mean using email. It could be Twitter, Facebook, text message, phone, personal visit – it is about the donor, not what is convenient for us.
Successful organizations implement systems designed to improve efficiency, maximize impact, engage supporters, and extend their reach. Working in the Dark Ages will impede your ability to move from good to great, so I encourage you to look at your operation critically and make sure you are moving into the Light.
Have a great week,