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From Chaos to Control

publication date: May 14, 2014

Fund development "data" is the facts and figures used by staff members given the job of raising money to support a charity and its programs.  This data returns information and knowledge that can be used to raise money more effectively. For any charity this knowledge is an important organizational asset. In her book, From Chaos to Control, Sharron Batsch asks a key question - "Who is looking after your organization's big asset?"

The answer may be "Everyone and no one."

Batsch's experience has shown her that it is often true that every person who has worked in fund development has touched the data - in some cases resulting in a negative impact. Furthermore, if staff are left to work without guiding principles, it becomes obvious that it is not the charity who is managing its "big asset."  Instead, management of information has been deferred to various staff members with different levels of proficiency. This results in chaos that can undermine a work group and introduce unproductive behaviours.

Instead, donor information as well as the financial gifts that are given should be viewed as an asset that needs to be managed in order to grow. Batsch recommends that you start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who is managing the donor data for your charity?
  • Do they have the skills to manage it effectively?
  • Do they understand the greater purpose of the data or is it viewed merely as individual transactions?
  • Do the staff in charge of donor data have the support of the organization to do their job well?
  • Do you have "rules of engagement" when it comes to handling data through fund development activities?

A lack of good business methods puts a charity at risk. Any loss of data, information and knowledge creates unnecessary waste and will impact the bottom line.

Sharron Batsch has a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. She has worked in the for-profit world for oil companies and in education teaching computer technology for the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. She is also the developer of @EASE Fund Development Software which supports a knowledge-based approach to fund development.

Purchase your copy of From Chaos to Control.


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