Alert! Nonprofit Communications and Fundraising Staffs Aren’t Talking — Report from Direct Marketing Association (DMA) 2006 NY Nonprofit Conference

Here’s the most striking observation from last week’s DMA Nonprofit Conference in New York: There were only 4 other marketing/communications folks, plus me, among the 450 conference participants. That means only 1% of attendees were marketers/communicators.

So where was that crucial conversation and alignment? Lots of discussion about the musts of integrating online and print fundraising communications, but next to none on organization-wide integration of effort and brand.

I was astonished. Donors are volunteers are spokepeople are prospective board members, etc. Prospective funders and donors are news readers are parents of volunteers and program participants. Volunteers are prospective donors are referrers are spokespeople are board members. Program participants are prospective donors are news readers. You get the idea.

This gap amazed me. Gotta say — I always guide my clients to ensure marketing/communications and fundraising teams work together, and know what the other is doing.

The marketing/commmunications and fundraising partnership is equivalent to the marriage of sales and marketing folks in the corporate world. The researchers behind Sales & Marketing Alignment, a new report on this vital relationship just released by MarketingProfs, tell us that companies in which the sales and marketing teams are closely aligned grow more quickly, close more proposals (a.k.a. gifts) and lose many fewer customers (donors, in your case). You can certainly extrapolate these advantages to the value dervied from close alignment of your nonprofit’s communications and fundraising teams.

So why aren’t nonprofit fundraising and communications folks working closely together? What’s to lose? There’s everything to gain.

Any ideas? We’ve got to solve this problem, asap.

Nancy Schwartz in Leadership, New Challenges, Nonprofit Communications, People | 4 comments
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