Rich Rumsey,VP, Development and Communications at Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) said (paraphrasing), “Katrina, I’d like you to come to a 3-day retreat with the other vendor-partners my organization uses. These partners, along with my staff, will represent every person who touches any sort of individual giving at Project HOPE.”
WHAT?! Does this mean I will be breaking bread with (gasp!) DIRECT RESPONSE people?! Major gift grabbers? Corporate relations radicals? Cats and dogs living together?! My peer-to-peer heart grew weak.
Since 1958, Project HOPE has worked to make quality and sustainable health care available for people around the globe, working in more than 120 countries. Now Rich wanted us to work together to, as he said, “make all boats rise,” AND, it turns out, he wanted us to make s’mores together too!
Says Rich, “We are only as strong as the people we surround ourselves with, so I want to build a team that will help Project HOPE fix our engagement and relationship issues. We are diving into the deep end of peer-to-peer and needed the right partners to guide the effort right from the start.”
Frankly, I have never seen a nonprofit do this, put such a diverse vendor and staff mix in a big room and ask us to help each other. But it worked. Brilliantly.
Suddenly, one of my personal goals as I work the peer-to-peer route is to see how many new names I can deliver to the direct response people. The silo we all lament just blew up.
The direct response people suddenly want to help us promote, in any way they can, our new peer-to-peer event. THEY SHARED THEIR CRM CALENDAR WITH US! Oh, the insanity! Usually there are three layers of people between us and that calendar.
Major gifts grabbers now see peer-to-peer as a lead generation vehicle. And, guess what? As long as I can benchmark and measure new names to the direct response list, I would rather see the money move to major giving because they actually know how to develop these potential major giving leads better than I do. Imagine my excitement to realize that Project HOPE might mark their database to see where the people who give big money originated!
“The insanity then got baked in as we were assigned to different projects to be completed over the next few years. Each project had vendors from various companies and staff.”
The brand development people invited those from other groups to sit on a brainstorming committee. Usually it takes an act of Congress just to get the brand assets for use. They want us to help develop them.
The insanity then got baked in as we were assigned to different projects to be completed over the next few years. Each project had vendors from various companies and staff. And the brilliance of it all was that each of us gave three days of our time, mostly for free, to help break down silos and become more successful overall.
This whole thing inspires lots of questions about potential issues that might arise. I am sure there will be some, but not enough to offset the magnificence of having the entire team working in one direction, knowing who is playing which base. That, my friends, is LEADERSHIP.