From Lori Lee Davidson, co-founder of NMS
On Nick Jr. there is a show called Wonder Pets that I was
subjected to able to enjoy with my kids for a few years. It’s a cute show about super pets that work together to save other animals in trouble. While it has been a number of years since I have been forced to watched an episode the theme song is deeply rooted in my soul. It slips out almost effortlessly when I’m telling my children to work together.
Yes, I’m referencing a toddler song. It’s the message that’s important for all of us.
It’s impossible to be in the nonprofit sector without having to collaborate and compromise.
Not just with one or two people but with boards, donors and corporate sponsors. You might find yourself humming during a board meeting or when you’re trying to find a happy compromise with your executive director. Teamwork makes all the difference.
We’ve worked with a newer energetic nonprofit. They have a team member who has all the passion in the world. Honestly, after one lunch with her you will not only see their vision but get wrapped up in how amazing their cause is and want to help in any way possible. She’s that passionate. She’s that convincing. She’s the right person to pitch to donors.
One small problem: she hates numbers, she hates asking for money and she hates the nuts and bolts of writing to receive the funding. When she meets with potential donors everyone gets so excited about the cause but when it turns to the ask part – she feels bad and takes a fraction of what they really need. It’s hard for her and for her personality. It became frustrating for her team, she generated a lot of excitement but none of it converted into donations.
So, what did her team decide to do?
They no longer send her alone.
They found someone on the team that is excellent at being tactful and executing a close.
The advocate is still the best person to pitch to the donor, hands down. She is also the best person to say “I hate this part, I just love what we’re doing here, I wish we could do it for free,” just as her team member smoothly rolls the conversation over to make the ask.
Their sponsorship has doubled since they changed their tactic. Doubled.
Sometimes it’s not changing your team’s personalities, it’s finding and maximizing your team’s strengths.
What have been some of our challenges with teamwork? What have been some of your solutions? Tell us.