Abila recently released their Nonprofit Finance and Fundraising Collaboration Study - Opportunities for a More Collaborative Nonprofit ›. With more than half of fundraisers (55 percent), and close to half of finance staff (45%) indicating the relationship between these two groups is not collaborative, there is room to improve and strengthen the dynamic. Abila's study outlined recommendations on areas where improvements can be made, and through our new blog series, "Finance and Fundraising Working Together", we will expand on each of the recommendations.
Recommendation One | Joint Goal Setting and Planning
"Come together to build a strategic plan that impacts all departments and guides the direction for the year. Put it all to a shared calendar. Do fundraising campaigns align with times when you need fundraising? Where do you need to focus to grow your organization? Stakeholders from both departments need to agree on the goals and timeline."
Goal setting is so critical both personally and professionally, but when goals are set in an isolated way without input from all departments impacted by the goals, it will be hard to achieve success. It is important that everyone have a voice in the overall strategic plan for the year so that you can all move forward in the same direction.
Remember to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. While there are various version as to what the acronym stands for, here are some of our thoughts and how you can utilize S.M.A.R.T. goals in your strategic planning:
S | Specific. Set clearly defined goals, where each department understands their role. For example, a goal of "increase fundraising" is too general. You want to be specific with something like, "increase individual donations by 10% over last year actuals by the end of Q1".
M | Measurable. Once you set your goal, you need to be sure you have a clear, definable way to measure the results so that all departments can quickly see whether or not things are moving in the right direction. The right quantitative reports that allow you to analyze your outcomes will be critical. Defining how the outcomes will be measured is another important area teams from both finance and fundraising need to not only understand, but also agree on ahead of time.
A | Achievable. While goals do need to be realistic, don't let this limit you from stretching and setting difficult to attain goals. You want to be moving your organization forward. Brainstorm together to come up with creative, impactful goals and then, as a team, hone in and fine tune to define those that are achievable and that you would like to prioritize.
R | Relevant. It is also important that the goals you set together are relevant to your organization and your mission. If the goal has no relationship to who you are as an organization, you need to rethink it.
T | Time Based. You need an end date for your goals. Especially, when you are setting outcomes that may need intermediate steps along the way, you will need to know what is involved and when you expect to reach the end. All departments impacted will be able to better plan their own internal strategies if everyone is in agreement on the deadline to completion. Without working together unrealistic deadlines may be put into place.
The key, as you set your goals, is that both finance and fundraising are involved in the process so that everyone is in agreement with the strategic plan as well as has an understanding of their role in achieving the goals that have been set as an organization.
Soft Trac is a woman-owned business and accomplished team of nonprofit software consultants. We believe in making nonprofits "do good" better. For more information on any of the topics discussed in this blog or to learn more about the software products and services we offer, please visit our CONTACT page.