Quality Results Means “No Shortcuts”

Quality Results Means “No Shortcuts”

Do you remember the old Ford Motor Company slogan that stated, “Quality is Job One?” Ford sold a lot of vehicles using that promise. They persuaded car buyers to buy THEIR product, under the belief that the manufacturer had a strong commitment to producing a quality product. But this raises these and other questions: “What does quality mean?” Or, “How will I know quality when I see it?”

If you spoke to 10 people and asked these questions, you would receive (at least) 10 answers or opinions. One definition I read recently was, “doing the right thing every time.” In other words, doing what we are supposed to do, doing it correctly and doing it consistently. Not taking shortcuts!

I knew a fund raising consultant one time who went by the name Bob “no shortcuts” Smith (name changed to protect the person’s identity). I thought that was corny when I first saw it on his business card. Then, I heard him explain its evolution. He had been a consultant for 30 plus years. He had story after story about clients, various organizations he served who failed to meet their goals. Among other reasons for their failure, he claimed to have found one common theme – they took short cuts!

What are some “shortcuts” in fund raising that we should avoid?

1. Rushing a solicitation meeting with a prospective donor before he/she has been properly cultivated; you can ask “too early” and significantly lessen the eventual gift.

2. Rushing into a campaign or a special project before the organization is ready; we always recommend a comprehensive and current strategic plan be in place and a feasibility study conducted before engaging your donor community in a major capital campaign.

3. Asking for “too little” because you did not take the time to adequately research or assess the donor prospect. We’ve seen this time and time again; a donor has much greater capacity but you’re in a hurry and don’t do proper research on the front end.

4. Hiring the wrong development officer. There is a saying in our industry and I have heard our President here at TTG share it often – “Hire slowly, fire quickly.” Take the time to evaluate the candidate before you hire him/her, check their “match” for the job description (we have a way to help you with this here at TTG), check references, etc. If you hire slowly (get the right person) you probably won’t need to fire quickly.

5. Circumventing the normal checks and balances because of a tight deadline, resulting in sending out a proposal or request that is incorrect or incomplete. We have seen this as well – gift proposals with the wrong or misspelled names; dated or inaccurate facts and figures, wrong amounts in the budget line, etc.

So, what is the moral of the story? Slow down, take your time; “quality” is usually superior to quantity. Remember, “doing the right thing every time.” And don’t take shortcuts.


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