Chart that shows growth.There’s something about wanting to grow the revenue of a non-profit or a caseload of donors.
It gets us thinking about the money.
And that’s not good.
Thinking about the money always gets you on the wrong path, away from true value. That’s why a primary driver of Veritus Group as a company is not growth, but service. How can we serve MGOs and non-profits better?
It’s not that we don’t think about growth or even plan for it. We do. But it’s not the core thing that drives us.
Many of the thought leaders of successful commercial companies over the last several decades will tell you that serving a customer’s needs should be the primary focus. And that doing that well brings revenue, profit, and growth.
There’s something about focusing on the money that rots your soul, blurs your perspective, and clouds your vision for a better life, better relationships, and a better world.
Yet we all do it. It’s like we can’t help ourselves. And often, we can’t.
So you have your CEO or your Development leader telling you “we need to grow by 15% next year.” And that’s what they mean and what they value. Because demonstrating you can grow means that you’re successful.
To some people.
But if that’s all the future “charge” is, then Jeff and I assure you, decline in revenue and loss is in your future. Because you will take your gaze off your donors and your cause. And that’s when the decay will start to set in.
But someone might say to all of us here at Veritus: “You all talk about growth and increasing ROI and setting donor goals and growing our caseloads. It seems like you’re talking out the other side of your mouth on this one. What gives?”
Well maybe we haven’t been clear. And if so, that’s our fault.
We have consistently talked about identifying and serving the passions and interests of your caseload donors as the most important thing you should be doing in major gifts. And that if you do that right, your donors will give more, which means your caseload will grow in value.
That has always been our focus and value – finding out what drives your donor, and then serving that drive outrageously. Why? Because that’s the right thing to do – because that’s the honorable thing to do – and because it’s the one focus that will assure a healthy relationship between you and your caseload donor.
And this is also the path to real growth – true and authentic caring for your donor.
Yes, we do talk about setting financial goals for each donor and creating plans to reach those goals. Why? Because you do need to know where you’re going with each donor, and you do need to have a financial plan for your organization – that’s also your duty and responsibility.
But the plans you do write need to be donor-centered – truly serving the needs of the donor – if they’re to succeed in building a lasting and authentic relationship with the donor.
So the primary focus is on the donor and helping her serve the cause you’re both committed to. And everything else you do is what I call “feeders” to that primary objective.
Now you have a choice to make.
Focus on growth and getting the money and fail – or focus on genuinely caring for the donor and succeed. (Tweet it!)
The donor focus is the right path. It will bring joy to the donor, joy to you, and revenue growth for the organization.