- Wed, May 04 2011
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I work for an unusual nonprofit. When we fall short of our mission, it hits our personal pocketbooks. All staff get paid less if we raise less money than goal, help fewer nonprofits or fail to achieve both excellence and efficiency in our work. I love this about my job: At the end of the day, we’re all about results, right down to our compensation. The stakes are high, which brings out the best in people. It’s especially good on the marketing front: We have to deliver on real metrics, not just “raise awareness.”
These days, we complain a lot about executive pay. But we don’t turn the scrutiny on our own sector when it comes to how we structure salaries. Maybe we should. Sure we don’t get the big bucks, but the quality of our work has life and death stakes. If your job is to fight diabetes, what if you earned less money if diabetes rates went up? If you are a fundraiser, what if you exceeded your goals? Shouldn’t there be an upside?
When our livelihoods are on the line, we work harder, take risks and focus on what works (and doesn’t). I know we’re in it for the mission, not the money, but reward structures say a lot about our expectations. They send a powerful message. What do you reward at your organization? Is it consensus and effort? Or is it creativity and results? You get what you pay for, in my view.
The marketing profession (of which I am a part) is rife with branding mumbo-jumbo, mushy metrics and vague ROI. There’s no better way to get serious about our work than to hold ourselves accountable for real results. What if you knew your next paycheck would be smaller if your e-news fell flat or people didn’t take action? How would you do things differently? If you’d change how you’d work, then maybe that change is worth making - for the mission if not the money.