November 17, 2009

One of my SMU students made the following wonderful points:

Too many organizations make a “tacit commitment to be poor…The thought is, good work should not be compensated well.” I see that too often. Here’s my theory: If your organization isn’t capable of paying a decent wage for good work, then shut down. Yes, shut down. I don’t believe that nonprofit organizations have the right to treat their employees poorly. The end does not justify the means.

— How about this: “the novelty of being able to be jubilant about philanthropy in an open, comfortable environment.” Do you work in that kind of environment? Or does your work environment think of philanthropy as money – and money, while somewhat “dirty,” helps you do your mission?

— And how about this last statement from my SMU colleague: “We’ve collectively slipped into a complacency of thinking that does not include honest listening.” Do you honestly listen? Do others in your organization? And does the listening stimulate candid dialogue?

Do you remember this, always? We’re part of our donors’ lives…but not the whole of their lives. That’s hard to remember sometimes, isn’t it? So how much communication is too much or just not enough? How often should you reach out and touch your donors? Are you providing them with meaningful experiences through your organization?

Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted, reminds us to “respect the integrity of the moment.” That means beware of multi-tasking. Think about multi-tasking and relationship building. Think about respecting those moments with your donors. Really listening. Really engaging.

Another comment from Maggie: We too often confuse technological fluency with the ability to create knowledge. Tweeting and blogging and other technology doesn’t mean you or me or anyone else is actually creating knowledge. Sure, embrace technology – but don’t confuse it with creating knowledge.

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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