When there is a misalignment between leadership and their team, results suffer. For proof, look no further than any professional sports league: every year, a team with a world-class roster doesn't live up to expectations. The blame almost always falls directly on the head coach. "How could a team with players that good not win every game?" you may ask in wonderment that the responsibility does not fall on the players.
But all too often, the root of the problem lies in how their talent was managed, not the talent itself.
This is not to say that every underperforming team is a result of poor leadership. External circumstances can throw a wrench in any strategy and result in missed goals. However, matching your fundraising talent with your overall strategy can compensate for a lot of extenuating circumstances that would otherwise derail your plans.
So what does it mean to align strategy with talent? A recent Gravyty poll found that almost a third of nonprofits do not include the team responsible for carrying out the strategy on discussions around strategy itself.
Of course, it is easy to point to this figure and say "it is leadership's responsibility to make decisions on what is best for the team, and it is the team's responsibility to carry that out". All of this is true. However, what is being called into question here is not the very concept of leadership. What is being questioned is the process of how those decisions are being made.
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By not including operational staff in strategic decisions, there is an implication that leadership teams have a clear picture of their gift officer's abilities and talents. However, additional Gravyty data paints a different picture. More than three quarters of fundraising shops do not measure portfolio saturation for gift officers.
Nearly four out of every five nonprofits does not have direct insight into how many donors its fundraisers are connecting with. Because goals are set for both the individual and team, having a clear picture around the ability your fundraisers have to successfully contribute to the team goal will help project how realistic the team goal really is.
Setting unrealistic goals for fundraisers is a sure-fire way to damage culture as well. Gift officers will become frustrated that they are being expected to perform at levels that do not match their skill level or disrupt the work they had done in the previous year. This is all while workers are leaving their jobs in droves, with many resignation stories coming back to how their employers treated them - or didn't treat them - in the past year. In the major gifts business, employee turnover can derail plans for years at a time while new hires are ramped up before they are able to close gifts at the same level as a tenured fundraiser who had just left the post.
Because goals are set for both the individual and team, having a clear picture around the ability your fundraisers have to successfully contribute to the team goal will help project how realistic the team goal really is.
Ultimately, reaching your goals requires leadership and fundraisers to be on the same page. By tracking metrics, leadership can better understand the abilities of individual contributors and ensure that broader goals are both realistic and aligned with overall strategy. At the end of the day, the goal is to raise more money to support the organization's mission. This is accomplished through creating strategy that maximizes the talent you have.
Are you having trouble identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your fundraisers? Gravyty's fundraiser enablement tools, powered by AI, provides managers insights into what gift officers are doing well and what areas need work. Furthermore, Gravyty's AI helps fundraisers in the areas that they are falling behind on as well. See a Gravyty demo today and learn how you can align your strategy with your fundraisers' talents as well as give your team the tools it needs to reach its goals: