Same Team! Working On Your Culture Of Philanthropy

I was reading a post by Rachel Muir, which inspired me, and I think it could be shared again and again.  

Creating a culture of philanthropy is HARD work! It’s so easy for each team to focus solely on their own priorities and forget how they fit in with the rest of the organisation. 


I find myself frequently using the phrase same team”. When I say this, the idea I’m trying to capture is that everyone is (or should be) working to further progress the mission of the organisation.  


I’d say it’s safe to assume that everyone at your non-profit would like more money to come in to provide for more services to better achieve your mission. Yet, day in and day out, the various teams in an organisation can fall into competition and frustration because of a narrow viewpoint. 


The challenge is getting out (and staying out) of this negative situation. A good place to start is getting to know your co-workers; branch out from your team by taking someone from another team out for coffee and find out more about their work. I’ve used this as my own onboarding system when I’ve joined a new organisation. It helps give you a feel for the culture overall, connects you to the rest of the group, and makes your co-workers feel seen and understood. 


You may hear about past grievances, and you can learn from your predecessor’s mistakes. Ask about your co-worker’s biggest stresses and busiest times. Find out how they like to communicate. Basically, treat them like a donor. This is the gold standard for how we treat everyone we come into contact with, but your co-workers are also the ones making the wonderful work you do possible and accomplishing your mission. 


Recognise the success of other teams, especially when your success has been dependent on their work and help. If you’re appreciating and praising their work, they’re much more likely to take on the messages you’re working to share and make your life easier.  


If you want everyone on the same page, working toward the same goals, then start at the beginning with everyone’s role as a fundraiser. It starts with the person who answers the phone or emails. This person is likely your donor’s first point of contact within the non-profit. Do they have a strong message and know best practices for working with donors? 


We get so caught up in the work we each have to do that it can get lost that we should all be working toward the same ends. Find a way to remind yourself everyday that everyone at your non-profit is on the same team. Then, make an effort to connect with your team!