Donovan's Donor Diary

If you are trying to raise money for your favorite charity/cause, Donovan's Donor Diary provides you with facts, tips and best practices on how to raise millions of dollars for people, pets and the planet.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Five Tips for Better Management

1. Your Mission Statement. Keep it Simple.

Too often the "wordsmiths," get caught up in writing long flowery mission statements when a concise one is just fine. General Patton's mission statement was, typical Patton, "Kill the enemy." The late Peter F. Drucker, management guru and author of many books on management, described his mission by saying, "I write." As a Catholic, I am shocked at how many parishes have long comprehensive mission statements that try to be all things to all people. Why don't they just say their mission is, "To proclaim and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ." What could be more inclusive?

2. Brand Your Organization

BASF, The Chemical Company, says in its popular advertising campaign, "We don't make the products you buy. We make the products you buy better." To be able to say, as they do in their ad-- "We don't make the computer screen. We make it brigther." --they know their clients will validate this claim as being true. Will your customers, clients or constituents say the same about your brand?

3. Focus on Leadership Development

Don't make the mistake of thinking the nominating committee is the one-stop shop for bringing new leadership to your organization. Think of leadership development as holistic. It entails electing new board members and involving leaders as members of your advisory board or emeriti board. Remember, advisory boards are a good proving ground for future board leadership.

4. Resist the Current Fad

The fad today is to run your nonprofit like a business. Baloney! Nonprofits are not businesses. They have no owners, no shareholders, nor do they have profits at year-end. Nonprofits rely on volunteers as much as they do paid staff to meet their mission. To say you can run it like a business is nonsense.

Nonprofits can follow good business practices such as branding, strategic planning and marketing. However, there is a major difference between a non and for profit. A business has one purpose, to make money (profits). A nonprofit has one purpose, to do good. The IRS only grants nonprofit status to applicants that exist for the common good. Businesses conduct transactions, often involving a retail exchange of a product or service for your money. Nonprofits engage in voluntary action for the common good and try to end the fiscal year in the black.

5. Communicate More Often

As the number of nonprofits grows in the Southeast, particularly in Florida, it's critically important to communicate who you are and what you do. As consultants, potential donors we interview for capital campaign feasibility studies constantly complain about the lack of awareness of the organization in question. "You don't hear much from them, except when they need money," is a frequent comment. "All nonprofits are the same," is another common response. Don't assume, that because you have a website or get lots of local press the world is beating a path to your door step. You have to send a steady stream of postcards, newsletters and press releases to differentiate your organization from the competition. Be Avis. Try harder.

Write me at: I'd like to hear about issues facing your organization.

Jim Donovan
Donovan Management Inc.