- Wed, December 05 2007
- Filed under: Nonprofit leadership
This time of year, I spend too much time thinking about money - spending it, giving it, and getting people to donate it. Marketing right now in my mind is all about shopping, donating and fundraising.
But an interesting book called Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most by Sybil Stershic, who was kind enough to give me a copy when I saw her a few weeks ago, reminds me there’s another truly important way to think about marketing other than spending and raising funds. And that is in terms of motivating and supporting our staff. They are the “People Who Matter Most.”
Just as audience-focused approaches work magic in marketing and customer relations, they also do with our employees. In fact, as she writes in Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most, they are all intertwined, with “a direct link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, and between customer satisfaction and improved financial performance.” In other words, if we want money, we need to focus on our staff.
She likes to say, “Explain, Train and Refrain”—explain how people’s jobs fit into the big picture and their role, train them to do great work and refrain from getting in their way.
Here are some marketing principles I think belong inside our office, not just in our outreach:
-Knowing and listening to our audience (not just donors, but the people we work with. We want to listen to what they say because it helps us understand how to motivate them—and to make them and us more effective)
-Being authentic: Not just spouting feel-good HR drivel about the value of employees but really valuing them
-Providing incentives: See Sybil’s thought on that below
-Letting go a knee-jerk need to control our message: Just as we need to give our supporters the freedom to spread the word about us in their own language, we need to give employees the freedom to solve problems and serve customers/donors as they see fit. Look no further than United vs. Southwest or Macy’s vs. Nordstrom for the difference this makes.
So what incentives does Sybil say work but don’t cost money? Research shows there are three:
-Personal recognition for a job well done
-A written thank-you
So don’t just thank your donors this holiday, thank the people around you.