Let’s face it: the human resources department is not out to make your fundraising department more effective.
HR almost certainly makes your organization as a whole run more smoothly (or at least it’s designed to). But its centralized, one-size-fits-all evaluation process does little to help individual departments respond to their particular needs.
This becomes problematic when advancement departments want to institute a performance metrics-based system of evaluation and assessment (which is an increasingly popular move that can significantly reduce costs and boost revenue.)
So what’s a team-player-type advancement guy or (or gal) to say to the gals (or guys) upstairs? There are two main approaches, says Jason NcNeal, a consultant at Gonser Gerber Tinker Stuhr (Naperville,IL).
“One approach is to bring it up directly with the senior leadership team,” he says. “You say something to the effect of: ‘I recognize that we have institution-wide HR-driven evaluation process. But because of the specific nature of the work our department does, I’d like to propose we have a different standard. I’d like to explain that standard, which I’ve developed working with peers and colleagues, and explain why it will help us evaluate which gift officers we need to encourage and promote, and which need some intervention.’
“But if wholesale change not possible, you can also make metrics-based evaluation a kind of advancement-only addendum. In most large organizations, VPs have some discretion on how raises and bonuses are distributed. So you can do the regular HR evaluation form for its purposes, and have any discretionary perks tied to the internal metrics.”
Dealing with institutional bureaucracy is no one’s idea of a good time, but a few simple steps can help your department establish the internal processes it needs to achieve maximum performance and efficiency.