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James V. Toscano

About James

We’re All Development Officers Now!

A much emailed and referenced article from McKinsey Quarterly by Tom French, Laura LaBerge and Paul McGill, “We’re all marketers now,” stresses the need for commitment from everyone in an organization to fully engage customers.

The authors advocate a total organizational approach to marketing. Quoting the article: “…customers no longer separate marketing from the product—it is the product…In the era of engagement, marketing is the company.”

What about Nonprofits?

Do these seemingly all-encompassing concepts apply to development, broadly defined, in nonprofit organizations? I think they do in at least one aspect. We need everyone in a nonprofit organization to fully and positively engage constituents. It is no longer the responsibility of one department.

Development is, in fact, the attempt by an organization to engage and build constituency in all of its activities, often culminating in value exchanges that may entail services, products, experiences and…donations.

Such donations involve constituent values and priorities rewarded and enhanced through sharing of resources with the nonprofit. Engagement, reinforcement and successful impact lead to continuing support

We also know that anyone in the organization can turn off a constituent by rudeness, inattention and a whole array of real and imagined offenses. This is the first reason to instill in all the necessity for positive engagement in our product—often us!

Marketing and communication, audience development and ticket sales, membership and fund development, volunteer and board recruitment, training, engagement and empowerment of staff to focus on internal and external constituencies are all elements. All are linked together to form the organization; all are focused on the achievement of mission.

A Singular Focus

Certainly there are numerous other duties, services, responsibilities and products that comprise the central function of an organization. Given current conditions,they all must come together in the all-embracing concept of development of the nonprofit, if there is to be significant survival.

The ultimate test of a nonprofit’s constituency is its willingness to voluntarily support the organization in good times and bad.

The more positive engagement, the more organizational development, with the resulting impact leading to better and more successful achievement of mission.

In this case, then, we all need to be development people. We all need to fully engage constituency in our mission, in our “product,” in our organization. Without that engagement, we will not maximize our potential, and we may, in fact, diminish our ability to sustain ourselves.

From Board to newly hired, constituency-centeredness, constituency development and engagement, are now the necessary requirements of all.

We are all development officers!


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