With tight budgets, and in many cases, tuition not covering operating costs, institutions have to rely on sound fundraising to make ends meet. Often when institutions are forced to do more with less they resort to lowering operating costs or forgoing marketing initiatives. Even with these limitations, we have seen some great teams produce more with less.
The Secret to Raising More With Less
When we look at organizations that are doing well leveraging their investment in fundraising, we see that they balance and align four key areas: insight, process, talent and tools. One of the biggest challenges executives face is to invest the right amount of an organization’s time and treasure in each category. Improving productivity comes from monitoring and adjusting the mix of inputs to achieve better and better performance.
Managing Operational Efficiency Helps You Unlock Your Team’s Potential
Fundraising is the result of a complex process, just like any commercial enterprise. Too many fundraising executives focus on cultivating their very largest donors, while neglecting the impact they could make in their organization’s performance through better managing their operational efficiency. This includes:
- Making hard decisions, such as reducing staff or resources in some functions, in order to increase them in others,
- Applying smart tools that can make your front line more efficient so they can spend their time in the front of prospective donors
- Ensuring information is being applied, and that the people who are in the organization are performing a role that can be directly tied to an outcome. Understanding officer goals or annual fund appeals success should be communicated and managed.
- Throughout all of it, challenging themselves to steadily produce more with less.
Creating Long-Term Value
To successfully do more with less, leaders need to move beyond the top of the gift pyramid to look at how they create long-term value for their institution and for the industry. That value comes from building strong relationships and constantly challenging themselves to improve their efficiency in doing it.