In the Nonprofit Finance and Fundraising Collaboration Study, 55 percent of finance professionals and 44 percent of fundraising professionals say their two departments are very collaborative. WOOHOO! Truth be told, based on the anecdotes we hear in the market, we thought these numbers were going to be way, way lower. However, roughly half from both sides saying they work well together is not too shabby, folks.
And, though I am a glass-half-full kinda guy, the flipside of half-ish thinking things are super collaborative, is that the other half-ish think there are real challenges and serious room for improvement.
When my colleague Dan Murphy and I presented the “Mission-Driven Collaboration” webinar on the Study findings, the slide below was one of my favorites. As you can see, it shows what the real challenges are and how each department ranks them.
The good news is we all see challenges (as opposed to having our heads in the sand), and many of the same ones. Many, many, many of these can be solved. Integrated technology, for example, can help with the reporting challenges and information sharing.
But, I want to talk about differing priorities and personalities. Those are real differences, and though they can be challenges sometimes, I’d like to assert these differences are GOOD.
I’m a fundraiser. I need to focus on human relationships and the warm fuzzies of donor engagement. It helps that I’m chatty and outgoing.
Dan, meanwhile, is a finance professional. He’s very analytical and focused on accuracy.
That’s not to say Dan doesn’t know how to form human relationships. Or, that I don’t care about accuracy. But, we were drawn to our specific careers based on our passions, and our strengths just so happen to be the primary skills required by our unique jobs.
So, I don’t want our priorities or personalities to change. I want Dan to keep focusing on accuracy, and I’m pretty sure he wants me to keep focusing on the warm fuzzies of donor engagement. We just need to appreciate each other’s strengths and know that both are highly critical to our organization’s overall success. To paraphrase my good buddy Aristotle, “Our whole is greater than the sum of our parts.”