The year of the pivot and what it means for philanthropy
There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a year of adversity. But as we know, with challenges, come opportunities—a chance to look forward and rethink our operations and strategies to build greater time-to-value in 2021 and beyond. And that was the goal of Traction on Demand’s TimeToValue Conference last week, but moreso, the event proved to be an incredible moment of reigniting connections, building connectivity and anchoring our focus on purpose
With more than 60 sessions in two days, we can’t possibly recap all the best bits into one small blog, but here are our top five key takeaways from TimeToValue Conference for nonprofits.
Watch: TimeToValue Conference
Focus on the why
Today, the people you serve need you to focus on growth. While many organizations have had the impulse over the last year to take a step back and “wait out the storm,” now is the time to lean in.
We must see 2020 as an opportunity to focus on our purpose and evaluate who we serve, how we serve and why we serve. Our constituents’, partners’ and donors’ needs may be changing and shifting, but being agile and adaptive to these changes—truly leaning in—is going to be the key differentiator.
“The two most important days in an organization's life are the day it was founded and the day you found out why.” Michelle Malpass, VP Community, Traction on Demand
Focus on the who
Understanding your constituents and their needs—not what they used to be, but what they are today, is essential. By creating constituent personas, diving into engagement data and forming a people-first approach, your donors, volunteers and community start becoming your top brand ambassadors.
Donor loyalty is about becoming curious. Not about what, about who.
Like any for-profit organization, creating brand loyalty comes down to one thing: experience. Do your constituents feel seen, valued, heard, prioritized? Measuring retention, while not exactly the same as loyalty, can be a good indicator of success and an easy place to start for most nonprofits.
“We know heart. But what did we know about our donor’s heart?” Becky Johnson, VP, Constituent Experience and Direct Response Marketing at American Heart Association
To help us focus on the who, it’s helpful to first understand what motivates our constituents. We all say things that we don’t end up doing—for example, “I’ll work out daily,” but then I don’t. Our intentions are true, but we don’t follow through. Understanding what compels our donors to take action is key. This requires a human-centered approach; we must first understand them as humans, not donors, to predict their action-triggering motivations. What would inspire you to participate in a certain way?
Focus on the how
What changed most with the pandemic wasn’t the what, it was the how. How do we:
- Continue to raise money?
- Mobilize teams and constituents?
- Increase message impact?
- Effectively manage data?
It’s been over 12 months since the first case of COVID-19 was identified. This wasn’t a three-month work-from-home period like many predicted—virtual engagement is here to stay. How are you going to stand out in those virtual micro-moments to create impactful moments of meaning?
“‘Somebody should do something about that.’ Remember, you are the somebody.”Deepa Subramaniam, Chief Product & Digital Officer, ACLU
Remember, just because we can doesn’t mean we always should. Be thoughtful and strategic so you don’t just add to the noise, but contribute meaningfully.
Focus on understanding & measuring impact
In a year of increased layoffs, budget cuts and program cancellations it’s never been more important to accurately measure our impact.
Measure what you treasure.
We must find our ROI purpose and create frameworks for 'measuring what you treasure'. As no two organizations are the same, no two measurements will be the same.
To begin unlocking our data, we must start asking better questions:
- Most organizations ask: How many people can I serve?
- Some organizations expand to ask: How many people that I served were able to achieve their goal?
- What organizations should ask: How many people that I served achieved their goal that wouldn’t have been able to do so without my org/service?
This last question is hard, it requires estimation. This is the key: impact measurement is actually impact estimation.
Focus on your people
Now that you understand who you’re trying to reach, why, and how you’ll support and measure the impact, you must also think about what that means for your internal team and culture.
Don’t underestimate the time required to devote to your people and culture. No matter what change you are undertaking, whether you’re beginning a digital transformation or establishing a new business process, it’s critical that you dedicate time and focus to change management.
It’s the people that help realize the mission of your organization, the technology is just there to support it.
It’s helpful to identify a dedicated change management team to focus on understanding the team impact, ensure open communications are maintained and address any concerns or questions.
Relive the magic
All TimeToValue Conference recordings are now available to rewatch in the T2V Community until December 17, 2020, or download via our website. With over 60 sessions, including seven nonprofit-specific Salesforce sessions, there’s enough content to last you through 2021 (and even more!).