Goal #2, Structures:
A reminder of what we discussed yesterday: Culture change, according to Robert Gass of the Social Transformation Project is about three different domains illustrated in his model, Wheel of Change; Structures, Behaviors, and Hearts & Minds. You will not make any ground creating a Culture of Philanthropy without addressing all three. I recommend you take one step forward in each of these domains. Yesterday, we addressed the Hearts & Minds…and today’s domain… Structures that help build a Culture of Philanthropy.
Structures: These are the systems or foundations that you put in place to support a Culture of Philanthropy. Choose one of these to strengthen donor relations. Here are some ideas:
- Clean data equals better donor relations. Do you have a functional relationship-based database? Does your data need cleaning up? Do people who use the database readily update it after meetings (filling in how it went, who attended, what you learned about the donor)? Does your database capture narratives and communications? Do you make sure that there are numerous donor touches before asking? How many? Choose one or more of these to fix up so that it represents this mantra: We build and maintain deep donor partnerships (a useful Hearts & Minds attitude).
- Have a board development committee change its name to Culture of Philanthropy committee. Have its purpose focus on strengthening donor relations. For each board meeting, have time devoted to educating and engaging board members in stewardship activities. These support an important distinction in a Culture of Philanthropy: that everyone has a role in building a Culture of Philanthropy.
Here are some ideas of what could be done in 20 minutes in a board meeting:
- Do a thank-a-thon where everyone makes calls or writes acknowledgment cards. Provide resources such as a letter or talking points outline. Let people choose the mode they feel most comfortable with.
- Read an article on Culture of Philanthropy and lead a discussion on the importance of donor stewardship. Download one of these blogs from our website! Or consider one of these resources that we turn to for inspiration.
- Have program staff come to a meeting and share a bright point/success story that illustrates the impact of your programs. Have board members pair up and share this story with a peer on the board to help them feel comfortable repeating it. Ask people to nominate their peers who did it really well to share it with everyone. Next, ask if people will commit to sharing the story with 2 people by the next board meeting. Invite those who were especially good if they would share it with a key donor.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about Behavior to build a Culture of Philanthropy, our third, and final post, in the series of Three Easy to Achieve Culture of Philanthropy Goals for 2021.