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If we use the analogy of a car to describe your organization, programs and developments are two big wheels that both work to drive your organization forward. Ideally, you want them to work together, move in the same direction, and operate at the same pace in order to reach your goals. Unfortunately that’s not always the case…

For many nonprofits, there’s a rift between programs and development. Development is frustrated with programs because they’re slow about getting stories from the field to share with donors. Programs is frustrated with development because they only seemed to be focused on the dollar amount.

While there are a lot of elements that go into creating a culture of philanthropy, getting your programs and development teams to work together is an absolute must.

15 Ways to Break Down the Walls Between Programs and Development

Last week, we attempted to break down the walls and help transform your program and development departments into a healthy, thriving, unified force in our webinar, “Creating a Culture of Philanthropy: Breaking Down the Walls.”  In the webinar, Pursuant Vice President of Training Rachel Muir shared five different things that programs, development, and leadership can do to break down the walls between programs and development:

5 Ideas for your Programs Team 

Here are five ways your programs staff can help create a culture of philanthropy:

  • Sit in on development planning meetings
  • Build donor showcases into your programming events
  • Shadow your development team on an ask
  • Provide your development team with insights about your clients
  • Give your development team program cheat sheets they can use with donors

5 Ideas for your Development Team 

In the same way programs can support development, here are five ways your development staff can help to create a culture of philanthropy:

  • Steward your programs staff in the same way you do your donors
  • Ask for input from programs when building your development plans
  • Sit in on program planning meetings
  • Shadow programs in the field and use what you learn to engage donors
  • Prepare programs staff with a donor cheat sheet

5 Ideas for your Leadership Team 

While it’s important for your development and programs team to work together, creating a culture of philanthropy ultimately starts at the top. Here are five ways you leadership team can work to support both parts of the organization:
  • Articulate the importance of working together from the very beginning. Own it. Include it in your handbook. Make it a part of the interview process for new employees.
  • Reward assists just as much as you reward points scored. If everyone plays a role in fundraising, everyone should be celebrated.
  • Celebrate what you want more of. When you notice programs and development working together, celebrate it. You’ll find that you tend to get more of the things you notice and celebrate.
  • Put development and program goals in staff evaluations. Help both teams understand what your organization is trying to accomplish as a whole.
  • Set an example in the way you operate. Make it part of your culture. Are your processes and systems set up to bring programs and development together? Do you meet together on a regular basis or do you meetings tend to be separate? Think about ways you can adapt your operations to help programs and development work together.
Are you ready to break down the walls?

There’s no reason for conflict between development and programs, your board and staff, or your internal fundraising teams. Creating a culture of philanthropy is no easy task, but it’s one of the most beneficial things you can do to experience long-term fundraising success.

What are some ways your organization is working to break down the walls between programs and development?