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#67 Instead of breaking up, we should have a baby!

We’ve all heard some crazy ideas about how to best live our lives, so here are a few common-sense rules about love and agency relationships that we often forget or convince ourselves do not apply to us.

  1. If you don’t tell your partner when their actions hurt you, they will not change.

  2. If you are in an abusive relationship you need to end it.

  3. Being afraid that you will not find another partner is not a reason to stay with them.

Too many times I have seen charities too afraid to push back on complaints or tell their agency what they really think in case that agency drops them.

Too many times I’ve seen charities complain, behind closed doors, about the service they receive from their supplier without voicing it with their f2f agency.

Also, too many times I have seen charities blame their agencies for crimes that can be attributed to themselves. Instead of investigating their own processes they pass the blame onto the supplier of their donors, or worse, the industry.

Don’t get me wrong, agencies make a lot of mistakes too. No one is ever 100% innocent when a relationship turns sour.

There are two hard truths to learn here about agency and in-house fundraising. Firstly, if you have honestly looked at every possible angle of your relationship and you cannot find a way to make it work, you should seriously consider not running a face-to-face program. The hard truth is that these campaigns take a huge amount of time, money, resources and know-how to work effectively.

Seriously, we know that F2F is currently the best way to grow your RG donor-base, but if you cannot commit to the financial costs of acquisition and retention, the time it takes to build back-end processes and supplier management, and don’t have an understanding of the mechanics of the channel you should take time out to learn the ropes and prepare the program before relaunching or never launch again. You’ll need to go back to the drawing board and find a new way to meet your income targets, but it’ll save you a lot of time and resources.

Secondly, if you are not meeting your KPIs but haven’t taken a fine-tooth comb to every section of your supplier relationship and held yourself to account for all your actions, dumping all suppliers in favour of an in-house team is not going to be the answer you are looking for because you may discover the same shortcomings from your own efforts. Despite what Avenue Q's bad news bears say, a broken relationship – or string or relationships, are not cured by introducing a baby into the mix

I know, I know, your new baby will be nothing like the babies you’ve seen before. This one won’t stay up all night screaming and pooping. Your baby won’t vomit down your chest or pick up every sickness going around day care. Your baby will be different because you have control over it. Your baby promises to grow up strong with the morals that you teach it and become everything that you want it to be.

What makes us think that we will be better parents than the professional carers? Why do we believe that we can do what they do without any knowledge or experience?

So, before jumping from the frying pan into the fire, examine your program honestly and decide whether it is them or you who need to change, and be sure you're ready for the answer? If the answer is 'them', give me a call.

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