3 Things NonProfits Say That Really Piss Me Off

Ceci Dadisman
Jan 11 · 3 min read
  1. We’ve always done it that way.

If you want to piss me off in about .5 seconds, this is the best way to do it. Yes, we have ways that we have traditionally done things but that doesn’t mean that they are the best way.

Just because your organization has always sent the annual appeal out by direct mail only, that doesn’t mean that it is the most effective way to raise the maximum amount of revenue. (In fact, if you’re doing it that way, you’re probably leaving money on the table by not adding in email and/social media to the mix.)

We must constantly evaluate the efficacy of our communications campaigns by not only looking at revenue but also cost-per-acquisition to figure out what segments are resulting in the highest ROI.

2. We don’t have the budget for that.

Ok, so yes, sometimes there really isn’t the budget for a particular thing. However, we seem to automatically default to that assumption. Rather than quickly dismiss something, let’s distill it down to the desired result and see if there is a way to accomplish it within our budget.

Let’s say it isn’t particularly easy for people to make a donation online. It may not mean a total website redesign. It may just mean optimizing your donation landing page. Or perhaps a 3rd party software could be employed to make the process easier (and mobile-friendly) as an intermediate step. See where I’m going here?

3. We don’t have time for that.

Let me start by saying that, for the majority of my career, I’ve been a “department of one.” I understand that there are only so many hours in a day. But, do you really not have time? We all know that time can be carved out in our schedule when we feel something is important.

Instead of saying right away that there isn’t time, analyze what the proposed activity is and determine if it is something that will contribute in a meaningful way to you achieving your goals. I’m going to tell you right now that yes, segmenting your communications better is going to bring a better result. Creating clearer and more concise messaging will be more engaging to your patrons. Taking the time to look at your Google Analytics will give you invaluable information so you can make your website more effective.

The moral of the story: have an open mind and a can-do attitude.

Re-focus on what you are trying to do and the best way to achieve it. It may mean letting go of what has been done in the past and fully embracing what is ahead.


PS: Are you an arts administrator? I publish a (totally not annoying) weekly email that features industry news, tactical information, job listings, and more. I’d love to have you as a subscriber.

Ceci Dadisman

Written by

Arts Marketer. Speaker. NonProfit Communicator. Native Pittsburgher. WVU Mountaineer. Trekkie. X-Phile. Mom. More about me at cecidadisman.com

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