Pull Up The Chairs At A Roundtable

By Gretchen Colón

The Marketing and Fundraising Teams might be on opposite sides of the building or on different floors and it’s hard to communicate and integrate in the fast-pace nonprofit sector.


Marketing and Fundraising are inextricably linked together. Success in marketing leads to success in fundraising and bringing these two departments together is a must.


Collaborating, integrating and solving problems together will elevate your organization to a higher level and create more robust strategies to expand your donor base, increase awareness, serve more clients and recruit new board members.


Take these first five steps to break down the silos between these two departments:


  1. Find a Roundtable & Actively Listen: Pull the Marketing & Fundraising Teams together around a roundtable for a 40-minute meeting every week.  It’s a simple agenda where everyone discusses what the teams are working on, upcoming activities, dashboard metrics from social media posts, e-communications, etc., and positive achievements from the week before. Most importantly, spend the meeting actively listening.


  1. Define the Marketing & Fundraising Lingo: When the teams start meeting regularly, write down new language that each team uses and ask for definitions or clarification. Start learning the different terminology we all use for marketing, communications and fundraising. These may might include LYBUT Donor, SYBUNT Donor, unique visitors or open-rates. It’s important everyone understands each others’ unique language and phrases for better communication and outcomes.


  1. Learn Your Team Members’ Strengths: As you meet together around the table, you will begin to learn different strengths of each team members. Begin mentioning these strengths verbally to the group when there is a celebration or win on either team.  Noticing and naming these will help you begin to work together more collaboratively on projects and strategies down the road.


  1. Create a Collaborative Environment: As the fundraising and marketing teams begin meeting, make sure to create a collaborative environment where ideas can be shared, individuals feel like they are heard, questions can be asked, and it’s ok to be vulnerable and not know everything. Learning to work collaborative will be a significant benefit when the two teams begin building awareness and fundraising strategies together.    


  1. Laugh Together: Don’t forget to laugh and have fun!  Learning new things about your co-workers is rewarding and makes working together easier. Share stories and experiences with one another and you will soon realize that you can tap into these conversations down the road.


Meeting together regularly every week is the first step to integrating your marketing and fundraising departments or areas in your organization.  Entering into these waters may be unique and a big change, but practice patience, actively listening and collaboration when you meet and you will soon be swimming together and moving in the same direction.


Don’t forget to download the one-page steps and pass them along to a co-worker!


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