I heard Tom Ahern speak the other day to Bloomerang employees (there are a LOT of great perks of working at Bloomerang, some of our Lunch and Learn speakers and topics are WAY up on that list). Tom was talking about the Ahern Audit and donor centricity in general.
At one point, there was an exchange between he and one of our salespeople when it was revealed that some organizations looking for a new donor database do not have the Development Department drive the search for their new solution.
Tom was… uh… surprised. Let’s go with that instead of “aghast,” which is what I almost typed. He didn’t spend a lot of time on it but the conversation has stuck with me recently.
It’s true. I can go through my list of organizations that are actively looking at donor software and point out more than a quarter of them that gave the task to the Accounting Department or some other department that is not directly responsible for generating revenue for the entire organization.
I understand the desire to find the perfect software that integrates with anything and everything that will create efficiencies and make everyone’s life, across the entire organization, easier. Next time you have lunch with Jay Love, ask him to tell you the story of the company that built such a product for nonprofits, and how disastrous it was.
What will help your fundraising team meet the revenue goals you have set? Managing relationships? Increasing donor retention? Direct integration with all software your team uses? Identifying new potential major donors and guiding cultivation? Improving Donor Communication?
(I’ll give you a hint: one of the above questions doesn’t belong.)
If your Development Director has searched for the right piece of software and identified their choice based on that software enabling them to attain the revenue goals you have set together for them, I think it is perfectly appropriate to have other departments sit in on a demo to see what the software can do for their concerns.
But your development people need to drive that discussion and ultimately make that decision.