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Funding Operations Perceptions and Impact

Chris Cannon
August 28, 2013

Funding Operations Perceptions and Impact

Chris Cannon

August 28, 2013
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  1. Bentz Whaley Flessner 0
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Industry Perceptions
    About Operations
    Support and Strategy
    August 2013
    Bentz Whaley Flessner

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  2. Bentz Whaley Flessner 1
    Bentz Whaley Flessner conducted a survey of
    industry contacts to ascertain their views on
    advancement operations support and strategy.
    Invitations to participate in an online survey were sent
    to 7,156 individuals, with 334 completing the survey.
    A similar study conducted by BWF’s Chris Cannon in 2011 found
    that executives and fundraisers with portfolios vary significantly
    in their confidence in operations compared to operations
    professionals.
    This 2013 study aimed to explore the durability and direction of
    this pattern.
    Summary
    Invitations Completes Completion %
    7,156 334 5%

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  3. Bentz Whaley Flessner 2
    The 2011 study asked participants if they were
    80% confident in the operational fundamentals: data,
    reporting, technology, processes, and people.
    The results showed that executives were less confident than
    those maintaining the operations.
    Summary
    Source: Cannon’s “An Executive’s Guide to Fundraising Operations” (Wiley 2011).

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  4. Bentz Whaley Flessner 3
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 3
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Summary
    This 2013 survey found some similar differences
    between the perceptions of operations professionals
    and fundraisers. Here is the summary of the findings:
    Survey Participant Breakdown
     The majority, almost 80%, of participants are from higher education.
     68% maintain a prospect portfolio, while 32% of respondents do not.
    Of those that maintain a portfolio of prospects/donors:
     Almost half reported they are very satisfied with the operations people.
     Over 30% reported dissatisfaction with technology.
     Over 25% reported operations is not involved with program evaluation.
    Of those that do not maintain a portfolio of
    prospects/donors:
     Over 45% reported they are very confident in operations processes.
     13% reported they are only somewhat confident in technology.
     Over 30% reported they were not involved in strategic decisions.

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  5. Bentz Whaley Flessner 4
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 4
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    The Diagnosis
     Executives, program leaders, and frontline fundraisers perceive
    the same situation in different ways compared to operations
    professionals.
     The gap between the groups, and often between perception and
    reality, make partnerships more challenging.
     How do we know? The data from a survey of hundreds of
    executives and operations professionals.

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  6. Bentz Whaley Flessner 5
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 5
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    The Diagnosis: Gaps between Perception
    and Reality
     Much of the subjective data
    available on the topic show that
    managing perception is critical to
    narrowing the gaps between
    different groups.
     For example, this grid depicts why
    and when a given organization
    should likely be concerned about its
    operational effectiveness.
     99% accuracy is typically quite good,
    but not always good enough with
    board records.
     Conversely, an errant receipt or
    some bad addresses should not
    diminish one’s impression about
    operational effectiveness. Source: Cannon’s “An Executive’s Guide to Fundraising Operations” (Wiley 2011).

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  7. Bentz Whaley Flessner 6
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 6
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    One Treatment: Re-gain Real and/or Perceived
    Balance with Process Accuracy and Speed vis-
    à-vis the Total Volume being Handled
    Goal:
    Partners perceive
    operations as
    “spinning like a top.”
    Source: Cannon’s “An Executive’s Guide to Fundraising Operations” (Wiley 2011).

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  8. Bentz Whaley Flessner 7
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 7
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    What helps treat the diagnosis?
    1) Communication: If you manage the process, share details
    about overall effectiveness. If you see a flaw, bring it to light,
    but reserve judgment.
    2) Trust: Train and trust your colleagues to do their jobs to
    improve accuracy, speed, and volume.
    3) Quality: Devise and report on metrics that will ensure your
    team is hitting expectations and delivering quality results.
    4) Shared definitions: Ensure that everyone can define key
    terms so that perceived problems are not in fact simple
    definitional differences.
    5) BPI: Where there are problems, implement a business process
    improvement plan to align resources to results.

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  9. Bentz Whaley Flessner 8
    Survey Results

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  10. Bentz Whaley Flessner 9
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 9
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Q1. What industry are you in?
    1.7% 1.0% 2.7%
    13.4%
    77.9%
    1.0% 2.3%
    0%
    10%
    20%
    30%
    40%
    50%
    60%
    70%
    80%
    90%
    Arts and
    Culture
    Community
    and Social
    Services
    Environment
    and
    Conservation
    Healthcare Higher
    Education
    Religion Other (please
    specify)

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  11. Bentz Whaley Flessner 10
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 10
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Q2. How large is your development/
    advancement team?
    14%
    24%
    20%
    19%
    23%
    0%
    5%
    10%
    15%
    20%
    25%
    0–9 10–24 25–49 50–99 100+

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  12. Bentz Whaley Flessner 11
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 11
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Q3. Do you maintain a portfolio of prospects/
    donors (individuals or organizations)?
    Yes
    68%
    No
    32%

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  13. Bentz Whaley Flessner 12
    Of those that maintain a portfolio of
    prospects/donors:

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  14. Bentz Whaley Flessner 13
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 13
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Q4. How satisfied are you in operations
    (advancement services, etc.) in the
    following areas?
    Note: Total may not be 100% due to rounding.
    33% 30%
    20% 23%
    49%
    54%
    45%
    47% 40%
    39%
    10%
    16%
    21%
    24%
    10%
    4% 8% 11% 13%
    2%
    0%
    10%
    20%
    30%
    40%
    50%
    60%
    70%
    80%
    90%
    100%
    Processes (gift
    processing,
    prospect
    management,
    etc.)
    Data (name,
    contact
    information, etc.)
    Reporting
    (request
    process, data
    available,
    turnaround time,
    etc.)
    Technology
    (database,
    access options,
    speed of use,
    etc.)
    People
    Very satisfied Somewhat satisfied Somewhat dissatisfied Dissatisfied
     The majority of respondents to
    this question reported being
    somewhat or very satisfied
    with operations.
     The highest satisfaction level
    was for people, with 49%
    reporting being “very satisfied.”
     Over 35% reported
    dissatisfaction with technology.
    24% stated they were
    “somewhat dissatisfied,” and
    13% stated they were
    “dissatisfied.”

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  15. Bentz Whaley Flessner 14
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 14
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Q5. How much do you involve operations
    (advancement services, etc.) in the
    following processes?
    Note: Total may not be 100% due to rounding.
    32%
    26%
    22%
    48%
    43% 52%
    11%
    17%
    16%
    6%
    9%
    6%
    3%
    4%
    2%
    0%
    10%
    20%
    30%
    40%
    50%
    60%
    70%
    80%
    90%
    100%
    Long-term planning Program evaluation Strategic decisions
    They are very involved. They are somewhat involved.
    They are somewhat not involved. They are not involved.
    N/A
     Most respondents to this
    question reported that
    operations is somewhat
    involved in long-term planning,
    program evaluation, and
    strategic decisions.
     Over 25% of respondents
    reported that operations is not
    involved with program
    evaluation, with 9% stating
    they are not involved, and
    17% stating they are
    somewhat not involved.

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  16. Bentz Whaley Flessner 15
    Of those that do not maintain a
    portfolio of prospects/donors:

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  17. Bentz Whaley Flessner 16
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 16
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Q4. How confident are you in the following
    areas?
    Note: Total may not be 100% due to rounding.
    47% 44% 45% 41%
    46%
    46%
    48%
    37% 42%
    45%
    3% 5%
    14% 13%
    5%
    1% 1% 3% 3%
    2% 1% 1% 1%
    3%
    0%
    10%
    20%
    30%
    40%
    50%
    60%
    70%
    80%
    90%
    100%
    Processes (gift
    processing,
    prospect
    management, etc.)
    Data (name, contact
    information, etc.)
    Reporting (request
    process, data
    available,
    turnaround time,
    etc.)
    Technology
    (database, access
    options, speed of
    use, etc.)
    People
    Very confident Somewhat confident Somewhat not confident Not confident N/A
     Most respondents
    reported confidence in
    processes, data,
    reporting, technology,
    and people.
     Over 45% reported they
    are “very confident” in
    the processes.
     The largest lack of
    confidence ratings were
    reported for reporting
    and technology, with 14%
    “somewhat not confident”
    about reporting, and 13%
    “somewhat not confident”
    about technology.

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  18. Bentz Whaley Flessner 17
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 17
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Q5. How involved are you in the following
    processes?
    Note: Total may not be 100% due to rounding.
    29%
    37% 37%
    43%
    38%
    32%
    13% 9% 21%
    14% 14%
    11%
    1% 2%
    0%
    10%
    20%
    30%
    40%
    50%
    60%
    70%
    80%
    90%
    100%
    Long-term planning Program evaluation Strategic decisions
    Very involved Somewhat involved Somewhat not involved Not involved N/A
     Most respondents to this
    question reported that they
    are somewhat involved in
    long-term planning, program
    evaluation, and strategic
    decisions.
     Over 30% stated they are
    not involved in strategic
    decisions, with 21% stating
    they were “somewhat not
    involved,” and 11% stating
    they were “not involved.”

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  19. Bentz Whaley Flessner 18
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 18
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Open-Ended Question Responses
    Responses to the following open-ended questions are
    provided in Appendix A.
     Q1. What industry are you in? (7 responses)
    Of those that maintain a portfolio of prospects/donors
    (organizations or individuals):
     Q4. How satisfied are you in operations (advancement services, etc.) in
    the following areas? (10 responses)
     Q5. How much do you involve operations (advancement services, etc.)
    in the following processes? (7 responses)
    Of those that do not maintain a portfolio of prospects/donors
    (organizations or individuals):
     Q4. How confident are you in the following areas? (4 responses)
     Q5. How involved are you in the following processes? (1 response)

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  20. Bentz Whaley Flessner 19
    Bentz Whaley Flessner 19
    © Copyright 2013 Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Conclusions
     This study affirms the gap in confidence and satisfaction between
    operations professionals and those maintaining fundraising portfolios.
     The most significant finding is the wide gap in “very confident”
    operations folks and “very satisfied” frontline fundraisers. A similar
    pattern is seen in the “very involved” responses for each group.
     Operations professionals tended to be “very confident” much more
    frequently than fundraisers were “very satisfied.” They also believed
    they were much more involved in strategy and planning than their
    frontline colleagues indicated.
     These results suggest that more discussion about, and better alignment
    of, operational efforts are needed.
    Thank you for your participation in this study. To discuss your
    operational alignment and effectiveness, contact BWF’s Chris
    Cannon at [email protected]. 117114:MAM:cdc:081613.

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  21. BENTZ WHALEY FLESSNER
    Bentz Whaley Flessner
    Industry Perceptions
    About Support and Strategy Survey
    Open-Ended Comments
    July 2013
    Note: Unedited survey responses
    Q1. What industry are you in? (7 responses)
     Academic Health Care Institution
     Int'l Relief & Development
     Public Policy
     charitable foundation
     K -12 Education philanthropy
     non profit conservation
     international relief and development
    Of those that maintain a portfolio of prospects/donors (organizations or individuals):
    Q4. How satisfied are you in operations (advancement services, etc.) in the following areas?
    (10 responses)
     Most of the dissatisfaction that I feel can be attributed to understaffing. Our ratio of
    frontline fundraisers to back office employees is higher than ratios at similar institutions.
    Our IT department is also smaller than it needs to be in order to address our needs.
     Most of the team is great, however, we have one older woman who is very negative and
    angry. In addition, she tends to complain about her co-workers to the supervisor, even
    stating falsified information.
     Still not convinced our new data system and people are at 100% operating. I think
    maybe at 80 or 85%?
     In the midst of installing new CRM (delayed) but with this hope for better data and
    technical processes.
     Millennium outdated. In process of switching to newer database system.
     Banner is outdated, clunky and won't allow me to build and/or maintain my
    own reports.

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  22. Bentz Whaley Flessner Industry Perceptions Survey Page 2
    BENTZ WHALEY FLESSNER
     The information residing in RE can be extremely frustrating as those who have
    supervisor rights do not follow through when changing, adjusting or updating info.
    Fund and Appeals are disabled with no paper trail. Often a pledge is adjusted but not
    the pledge payments. Reporting becomes a nightmare as you can never be sure you are
    compiling the correct information.
     Would have marked all of these Satisfied -- There's always room for improvement but
    I'm more satisfied than not.
     I don't like Jenzabar. User un-friendly.
     Need more people, but the two we have are wonderful.
    Q5. How much do you involve operations (advancement services, etc.) in the following processes?
    (7 responses)
     The director of advancement services serves as a member of the division's
    leadership team.
     We're starting to involve Advancement Services more and more, and it's better for
    the business.
     They do what we tell them to do - we know what we want and how we want it.
     I'm not sure I know these answers.
     Not discussions I'm involved in.
     People tend to continue to work in silos though we have had numerous meetings to
    discontinue this technique.
     We utilize the research function in AS that is quite good.
    Of those that do not maintain a portfolio of prospects/donors (organizations or individuals):
    Q4. How confident are you in the following areas? (4 responses)
     Real prospect management doesn't exist.
     (Assuming that people means our internal operations).
     I am less than confident about the data, but understand that it is an on-going battle to
    maintain information on thousands of records.
     It would be more helpful if Development would forward BIO updates to Records team
    to keep DB current.
    Q5. How involved are you in the following processes? (1 response)
     (annual fund)
    117113:MAM:jlc.

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