Our journey continues…

THD Team

“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s a quote we’ve all heard and a sentiment we are all reminded of daily.

Last week THD’s journey took an exciting new turn. Thanks to the continued support of our amazing clients, we outgrew our previous home and moved into a beautiful new space in historic Lincoln, MA.

THD Office

Our bright, healthier new home is the culmination of a year’s worth of work. We kicked off with a workplace survey to better understand the needs of our people as well as a commute analysis that outlined our best geographic options (if you live or have lived in this part of the world, you know just how important that analysis is!). Once complete, we engaged architects, interior designers, furniture suppliers, and technology experts to develop a workplace that would meet our needs and align with our culture of openness, transparency, teamwork, and collaboration.

The result is an environment with tremendous natural light, open areas for impromptu collaboration inside and out, standing desks, an on-site fitness center to keep us healthy, and better technology to keep us all seamlessly connected.

Change and evolution are the defining themes of this part of our journey.

Just as the journeys, needs, and wants of the donors we work together to engage are evolving, so, too, are the needs of our clients and the teams we’ve built to support them.

So, it’s appropriate that we drive through the battlefields of Lexington and Concord each day on our way in. Our industry is going through a period of dramatic change, and our individual journeys into the office are reminders of how important change (and a little revolution) can be to growth as well as discovering new and better ways of doing things.

And now, as our journey continues, we can’t wait to have you in for a visit to see where we can all go together.

Gratefully,

Jay

P.S. That quote from Emerson is incredibly appropriate, as our conference rooms have all been named for famous literary figures from the area – Emerson being one of them.

It’s Not Political: How World Events Impact Fundraising

Jay Denison
Jay Denison
Executive Vice President
Founding Partner

It was April, 1980.

I was a young, enthusiastic account manager responsible for a new member acquisition program for a Zoological Society on the eastern seaboard.

We had a solid, proven list plan. A tried and true offer. Flawless execution.

The mailing arrived in home as scheduled on April 24, 1980 – the same day when a bold attempt to rescue 52 American hostages held in Iran ended in disaster. And our membership campaign resulted in less than 10% of our goal.

That was the day I learned that national and international events can hijack even the best laid fundraising plans.

Predicting revenue in an unpredictable world
Despite our methodical approach to budgeting and projections, the world around us simply refuses to be predictable. And that can throw all our finely tuned revenue targets out of whack.

When the Dow slumps over 1,300 points in a month’s time as it did between December, 2015 and January, 2016, fundraisers feel the pain. When the airwaves are held captive by a contentious presidential election, our donors can get distracted.

The best strategy, the best creative and the best execution can be significantly impacted by external events. All too often, many of us as fundraisers forget that we do not operate in a bubble.

The outside world does have an impact – positive and negative – on the great work we all do together.

How can fundraisers protect themselves?
We’ve seen good times and we’ve seen bad times. And while we understand that you can’t control external factors, you can mitigate them. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Keep senior management apprised of the trends, both when they’re in your favor – and when they’re not. Be prepared to deliver a modified message. Take advantage of the digital channel that allows for a more nimble reaction to external conditions.
  • Don’t overreact when times are tough. Many organizations significantly cut back on investment programs during an economic downturn. Those decisions have a long-term impact that can be difficult to reverse. Understand your numbers and the potential impact of investment decisions made today on the future. Those that stayed the course during difficult economic times are reaping the benefits today with a healthy donor file that is delivering increased revenue.
  • Capitalize on opportunities. The most successful groups know that when the wind is at your back it is the best time to be even more aggressive. Results may be up, but that doesn’t mean that this is the time to cut back. Keep pushing, keep growing, continue to innovate and don’t let up.
  • Be agile and prepare to change course. You may not be able to plan for all external factors or events, but you can have an understanding of what levers may need to be pulled or pushed on relatively short notice.

This past year has been filled with surprises – some pleasant, some less pleasant. The outcome of the presidential election and its impact on our efforts to fund important missions is yet to be seen.

It may be a boon, it may not, but the better prepared we are for any eventuality, the better equipped our fundraising programs will be for the year ahead.

To continue this conversation with the team at THD, click here.