For Impact


Silos Don’t Play Well Together

Productivity, Team | | Tom Suddes

You are perfectly designed to get the results you are getting.

Sooooo, if you have a Planned Giving Office, a Foundation Office, a Corporation Office, an Annual Fund Office, a Grant Writing Office, an Alumni Office, an IT Office, a Special Event Office, a Unrestricted Giving Office, a Restricted Giving Office, a Campaign Office… then you’re designed (competitively) to not communicate, not collaborate, not play well together.

This ‘No More Silos & Boxes’ nugget is a HUGE LEAP, but mandatory for any kind of real success.
Your Qualified Prospects and current investors don’t want to be ‘SOLICITED’ by all these ‘offices’. This is not about how you ‘count’ and ‘account’ for the funds. It’s how people want to INVEST in your institution, organization, cause and case. All of you know where your ‘SILOS’ exist. They are parts of the organization that are DISCONNECTED by the ‘BOXES’ (in the organization chart), the baggage, the sacred cows of the organization and by the ‘BOSSES’ (of the different departments.)

*Organization charts and boxes, by the way, were based upon a military industrial model of command and control and assembly lines. This was a terrific concept when first brought out in the 1950’s. It doesn’t work now. Creating a model and an organization built on HOLISTIC TEAMS who collaboratively engage in transformation, vision and changing the world beat the living daylights out of “boxes” and your “organization chart”. (Obviously, I’m not expecting any HR people to be looking at this.)

I’m going to encourage you to take this as far as you dare. It gets tough when we tell people that they shouldn’t have a ‘Planned Giving Office’ or ‘Officer’, or eliminate the slots focused on ‘corporations’ or ‘foundations’ or grant writing. Perhaps more importantly, we are met with looks of absolute amazement when we suggest that the people on the IMPACT side (you know, the ones that are delivering your service) should be actively engaged as part of the team to help generate INCOME and FUND A VISION!

Example: What if there were NO MORE MAJOR GIFT OFFICERS? This may freak you out, but it’s about the TITLE! It’s so ‘developmenty’ and ‘fundraisey’. It’s an insider’s word. It’s on our business cards and on our stationary. We might as well wear a sandwich board that says, “I’m a MAJOR GIFT OFFICER. I’m coming to ask you for a MAJOR GIFT. Get ready.” Change the title of everyone in your organization who is engaged with your constituency to include the word ‘RELATIONSHIP’! (Chief Relationships Officer, Regional Relationships Officer, Regional Director of Relationships, College Relationships Officer, Relationships Officer)

Special Note: I’m still using RM in most of the places where we coach. Relationship Manager (RM) is certainly better than Major Gift Officer, but it still doesn’t really reflect this idea.