One of the common statements I make to PB&J’ s clients is, “ultimately, it all comes down to relationships. It is very true in many, many ways. The better your relationships internally are, the more productive the organization. The better your relationship is with donors, the more fruitful it is. The better your relationship is with those you serve, the more they trust you and will serve and give back to the organization that helped them.

It is only human that we limit the conversation of relationships to people. Websters defines relationships as “a connection, an association, or involvement”. As we review our annual plans, can we not internalize the relationship so it is more than just a listing of numbers and activities and connect it to what our people and organization does. Just like we try to educate donors on the impact of dollars, could we not do the same when discussing the impact of raising more money to our staff and involve them in the outcomes.

Often, we hear the statement “no money, no mission and no mission, no money”.  This simplifies the relationship between what the organization does and the need to fundraise.  However, do we share and explain what the fundraising efforts mean to those involved.

If any organization has worked with PB&J marComm, they know plans are strategic. You don’t just throw numbers out to be an increase over last year, you tie it to a need. A new program, a new staff position, a benefit. It is even OK, if you tie it to a raise for your staff, especially if there really has not been a significant raise for a while.

As Rocky, one of my clients shared, set benchmarks and do something when you start achieving those benchmarks. He replaced the lobby furniture one piece at a time. It was nothing significant, but the staff noticed. This helped to build the “Culture of Philanthropy” we all work for.

So, as you look at that development plan from last year, start a conversation with you team. Ask, “If we got $50,000 more this year, how would you spend it?” Chances are, you will hear something that will make a difference for your organization. Then when you talk about implementing a non-fundraisers idea, you build relationships. Relationships with your plan, its outcomes, and the team that carries out your mission.

Keep making a difference!

Does your development plan have a relationship?