After volunteering, 73 percent of donors say they’re more likely to make a gift.

After attending an event, 74 percent of donors say they’re more likely to make a gift.

A whopping 72 percent of donors say they might stop giving to an organization if it sent them poor content.

Besides a lot of 7s, the common thread I see here is the need for collaboration. If I were still in my cube at the Girl Scout office, this would mean I needed to work more closely with:

  • The volunteer services department to ensure there are volunteer opportunities for donors, and they’re aware when donors are volunteering
  • The special event planner to plan an appeal during and after the event
  • The girls’ programming team, because in a youth organization like Girl Scouts, the camps, cook-outs, workshops, etc. the kids attend are where volunteering, events, and mission delivery all come together
  • The communications team to be sure my donors are on the right lists and suppressed from the wrong lists (please, please, please don’t ask my major donor for a $20 gift!).

Just because I’ve specifically called out these departments, doesn’t mean I can ignore the others. Facilities team members are my boots-on-the-ground (and in Texas, that means literal cowboy boots) for providing a beautiful camp facility with healthy animals and safe spaces for the events. The finance team leads timely and secure donation processing, plus the critical reporting I need to follow-up with donors, sponsors, and grantors. The membership department, cookie sale leaders, at-risk youth program team … and, really everyone who touches even a corner of the Girl Scout mission, whether they know it or not, are all part of my (hypothetical) development team.

I’m a little tired just thinking about all the people I need to work with … and I’m a people person! Even for extraverts, collaboration and teamwork require effort. In Abila’s Nonprofit Finance and Fundraising Collaboration Study, we specifically examined the ways finance and fundraising do (or don’t) work together. And, though the Study is specific to those two groups, it holds many universal truths.

  • Differing terminology interferes with collaboration.
  • Variance in reporting needs and metrics causes challenges.
  • Not communicating with each other is a roadblock.

And, like these universal truths, there are best practices we can all undertake to ensure a more collaborative organization, and thus a better donor experience and improved mission delivery. From the Study and infographic here are three recommendations.

  1. Joint planning and goal setting.
  2. Cross-training on basic terms and jargon.
  3. Identify ideal processes and responsibilities.

For more ideas on improving collaboration at your nonprofit, read the Nonprofit Finance and Fundraising Collaboration Study or watch the “Building a More Collaborative Nonprofit” recorded webinar.