5 Ways Organizational Culture Impacts Fundraising
So much of fundraising success stems from having a great team, from top to bottom. And you can’t have great teams without a strong organizational culture. The very definition of organization culture underscores how the concept contributes to a highly-functioning team:
"The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution or organization"
There are 5 main components of a strong workplace culture that directly impacts Fundraising effectiveness:
When building successful fundraising teams, effective recruiting is the first step in achieving that success. Having a strong organizational culture plays a huge factor in drawing quality candidates to an organization. A culture that existing team members are happily immersed in can spawn them to extend application recommendations to friends, former associates and sometimes even family when roles become available. These tandem team members prove to be very valuable. They love to work together, tend to be successful in their roles, and just as impactful, they tend to stay together over time!
One of the most strategic areas of any interview process is determining if a new hire will fit in to existing corporate culture and truly immerse themselves in the causes they will be representing. In order to determine if an applicant will be a successful addition to the team, it is important for established team members to include them in pre and post-canvassing team atmosphere as part of the job shadowing portion of the interview process. By doing so, they can witness best practices and experience the organization’s culture in action first hand. Before the day is over, they have a strong gage of role expectations and can already feel the impact of established culture - and are truly excited to be a part of it! The foundation of any excellent culture is the people who comprise it. If potential team members feel welcomed, supported, encouraged and included before they are even hired, they will quickly become vibrant contributors to that culture and valuable in their roles once on board!
Top notch training is paramount in delivering on fundraising program objectives. One of the most effective ways to initiate this with new hires is by immersing them into the daily flow of activities on day one. Learning on the job with a veteran mentor in tandem with taking online training modules and client certification programs arms them with the best tools for success as they set sail on their fundraising journey. For veteran fundraisers, ongoing training continues for the duration of their employment. This happens in the form of workshops, leadership conferences, peer mentoring platforms, on-site client orientation sessions and even client trip opportunities, where attendees visit active client project communities for a first-hand look at donor funds in action. This type of sustained, evolved training ensures fundraising practices stay relevant and campaign efficacy is optimized.
4. Daily Practices
Daily routines performed as a group help establish a sense of familiarity and connection to a common goal. Meeting as one big team before heading out to fundraise individually creates great atmosphere to start the day and ensures everyone is enthused and ready to go out and interact with their donor audience for the next few hours. Regrouping at the end of the day to celebrate each other’s daily achievements is inspiring and bonding for everyone. It ends the day on a high note and evokes a sense of being part of something very special!
5. Adaption & Innovation
In order for fundraising organizations to thrive, they must be prepared to find innovative ways to adapt to current and anticipated market shifts and other external influences. This involves actively searching for new opportunities in the market and experimenting with new concepts to either prepare for these shifts, or respond effectively when unexpected influences happen. Re-thinking our approach and modifying fundraising practices allowed us to successfully support our clients’ causes without losing the human connection during the current global pandemic and is a perfect example of our adaptation and innovation culture in action. Success in this area is dependent on strong management where the constant need to improve and achieve better results is part of their DNA. Leaders who view the status quo as something that can always be improved, build companies that realize market sustainability and tend to emerge as great places to work and pacesetters in their fields! When we combine innovation with people and processes that are already experiencing success, even higher levels of success are achieved.
A positive work culture promotes a healthy work environment, drives team member engagement and helps in attracting and retaining top talent. It improves teamwork, collaboration and ultimately enhances productivity. When team members are immersed in a robust and energized corporate culture, they tend to enjoy strong overall employment satisfaction, and bring the best of themselves to their tasks and their roles. And they are likely to make successful, durational careers in the industry. In the world of fundraising, this is invaluable!