If I had a dime for the number of tweets, emails and conversations I had last month about Giving Tuesday fails, well there's a chance I could make a nice size donation to your organization.
In many of the conversations I had, folks expressed frustration over following the prescribed advice for a successful Giving Tuesday campaign but not seeing anywhere near the results they expected.
And of course, this experience isn't limited to Giving Tuesday. Sending multiple emails in the last 72 hours of December. Going live on Facebook at least once a week. Everything being donor centered. Starting a monthly giving program. Personalizing communications. Having an Instagram account. . . we both know I could go on.
As my friend Claire Axelrad recently pointed out, "Saying 'you' a lot won't ipso facto make your email effective if everything else about it is wrong." #preach
The real issue all of this surfaces is confronting how well best practices are really working out for your non-profit.
Because friend, how many times have you followed best practices only to feel underwhelmed by the results? No matter how much your non-profit follows the charity: water model to a T, there are so many variables that prevent you from getting identical results. The variables are not a bad thing. But they are what you need to embrace to develop your own best practices.
How well did best practices work for your non-profit last year? Here's what you can do in 2019.
Over the last few years in my consulting work, I've seen how relying on best practices prevents many professionals and organizations from developing the skills and confidence they need to chart their own path to success.
One of the best things I do along side my clients is help them figure out their own best practices. This process requires a lot of inquiry and challenging assumptions. And frankly, it's uncomfortable.
But in the discomfort lies an opportunity for self-leadership.
As you look back at the last year, here are three things you can do to start exercising your own leadership.
1. Start by taking a hard look at what you did last year. Gather up all the appeals, stories, and communications you sent out and review your results.
2. As you look at the landscape of what you did, think about which best practices you followed. Make a list if you'd like. If you followed a best practice multiple times that's also worth noting.
3. Question whether each best practice did or did not work well. Consider your variables such as donor base size, email list size, reach, connections, resources, etc and examine what helped and what hindered your results.
Exploring these three aspects are the first steps to your organization examining best practices through a critical lens and developing its own best practices.
In the discomfort of challenging assumptions and best practices lies the opportunity for self-leadership
Interested in exploring best practices that work for your organization? Join me for our next budget-friendly webinar on this very topic.