The first part of April is a fun time for playing pranks and having a laugh—but as for the rest of the month, we can all agree that it feels good to be taken seriously. And, we as development professionals know that the outcomes for your organization can be tremendous when the leaders and drivers of culture fully understand the impact and joy that philanthropy can bring. This spring, consider these five ways you can do your part to promote a culture in which everyone takes philanthropy seriously and strives toward achieving even greater goals.
1. Provide Clear, Credible Communication
If associates aren’t sure what philanthropy has accomplished at your organization, then they may be unlikely to feel eager to participate right now. Create a communication piece to share as you have opportunity—perhaps in departmental meetings or other gatherings—that reflects the ways philanthropy has already made an impact. Make sure the piece is of high quality so people take it seriously.
2. Share Information About Need and Opportunity
If associates talk about philanthropic engagement like it’s a burden, they might not fully understand the opportunity. While it’s no secret that many major non-profit organizations are struggling to overcome budget difficulties, many people are unaware of just how great the philanthropic opportunity is. Inform associates of current philanthropic trends and the potential for vast growth through philanthropy in 2015 and beyond.
3. Identify Barriers
When people are asked to make a change to their status quo, they always ask questions, even if they don’t ask them out loud. As you promote philanthropy, anticipate the likely questions, frustrations, and objections. Create a strategy in advance for making each associate’s transition to greater engagement with philanthropy as smooth as possible.
4. Prepare All to Fulfill Roles
Everyone has a role in your organization’s culture of philanthropy—but people have different roles. Does each associate know her or his unique role? Ensure that all associates understand how they can make a difference and what is (and is not) expected from them. Ensure that they have the tools to fulfill their roles successfully. Evaluate your current training programs. Are they adequate to supply these needs?
5. Celebrate Success
As associates begin to engage, they want to know how their efforts are making a difference. Just as we show donors the impact of their contributions, we must also provide organizational associates a meaningful return on their involvement. This entails setting and meeting realistic expectations, showing respect for associates’ time and efforts, and following up so each associate sees the difference her or his engagement has made.
As mentioned above, one way to increase participation in philanthropy is to create a communication piece showing how philanthropy has already made an impact at your organization. We invite you to download a sample communication piece today.