Paul Martin's Articles

Growing Influence without Growing Expense

Ask a smart college freshman about his girlfriend and he will often say, "Not now. Relationships are expensive."

Whether listeners, donors, business development partners or community leaders, it takes time, effort and money to build good relationships.

  • Listeners require a strong signal (expensive) and promotion to attract them to the station (also expensive)
  • Donors require a good, strong bond with your non-profit (expensive) to have them feel enough a part to give.
  • Business development partners require a sign that your station influences a lot of people (expensive)
  • Community leaders (including pastors) require a special kind of treatment (expensive) to get on your side

These relationships are worthwhile to fulfill the mission of our stations, but they can be pretty expensive.  That’s where staffing and outsource relationship management help you keep these important relationships aligned while keeping costs under control.

When can we put the fun back into fundraising?

The manager was about as stressed out as I've seen a person. "We've got to make this fundraiser work," he nervously blurted.

His desire to do a great job was obvious, but so was his we-have-to-bear-down-on-this approach. He had a deep faith in God's provision, but he also wanted to make sure he was attentive to every detail. Unfortunately, he squeezed the fun out of fundraising.

Givers have great joy so why do the askers have such stress? There are four good things to remember when leading a fundraiser:

  • Approach with joy.
  • Ask with joy.
  • Lead with joy.
  • Live the joy.

The Macular Degeneration Station

"I'm just too busy running the station to have a vision."

Did that station manager actually say what I thought I heard on the phone? He basically confirmed it when he went on to say that he was having problems:

  • Increasing income to hire more people
  • Getting donors to understand why the station needed a new facility
  • Keeping his staff motivated and heading the same direction
  • Waking up excited about leading his station

These issues are common among managers who don't take a few moments to breathe, envision and write a plan--usually with a trusted counselor.

Four Steps to Growth With Limited Relationship Capacity

As the manager detailed that his business development efforts were not meeting his expectations, I asked him how many people his reps could handle at a time. He looked puzzled—then his eyes lit up.  He got it.  It was simple math. Advocace’s research shows that a successful business development representative can have about 17 active accounts per month.  During the fourth quarter, the number might go up a bit, but it will go down about the same amount shortly thereafter as the active account count regresses to the mean. Growing 17 Active Accounts So, how do you make the most of those 17 accounts? Have a deep relationship with prospects and clients.  Find out the real issues they face and provide a solution with your products and services. Grow your average customer spend.  Ask prospects to participate in new promotions and increased service levels.  Offer something new to each account each month—even those who make an annual commitment with you. ...

Unwanted Research Results: Taking a Step Toward Success

Jim Seybert wrote a great devotional guide for leaders and managers titled, “One Year Mini for Leaders”.  His entry for February 3 ties into several conversations I enjoyed over the last couple of weeks with clients and friends.  I think you will enjoy it, too. Do Your Research “He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back.” Genesis8:12 Imagine Noah’s disappointment when the dove came back the first time with nothing in its beak. He had done his research, and it had failed – or had it? It’s my belief that properly conducted research is never a failure because you learn something even when the results are not what you expected. In fact, a survey that reveals an unexpected result is probably more successful than one that just confirms what you already knew. Noah did not change his approach on the second and third attempts. He ran the research exactly the same all three times. Release the dove, wait for it to return, wait seven days, rele ...

Raising Big Donations for the Super Bowl

When the Super Bowl XLV Host Committee wanted to win the biggest game of 2011, the committee knew it also had to win about $25 million in donations to land the game for Dallas-Ft. Worth and get the area ready as a successful host.  Legendary football quarterback Roger Staubach, President of the host committee, turned to Bill Lively—the man who raised $338 million dollars for the new Dallas performing arts center.

Bill Lively is a hero in Dallas.  Not just for funding the Super Bowl host committee needs, but also because he is a master of the ask.  He isn’t afraid to ask for big sums to propel his vision.

The Dallas Morning News profiled the master fundraiser in an astonishingly candid article about fundraising. Take a few moments to enjoy the article (link below) and you’ll see that, even when you’re asking for $42 million dollars in a single gift, there can be tense and funny moments.

“I really don’t think my reps are working Friday afternoons.”

That’s what a manager recently told me.  He mentioned that the office was like a ghost town after lunch on Fridays.  He didn’t think his reps (both major donor and business development reps) were accomplishing things on Friday afternoon. He probably was right. Three issues seemed to be in play: The reps were beat up—mostly from self-inflicted wounds.  The reps amplified the “No” they heard from a few clients to discourage them. The reps didn’t feel like they had an advantage—the station had decent ratings, but the format was controversial in their area. The reps weren’t totally clear on what they should do to make management happy. Let’s talk about number three first.  We’ll get to the others in coming posts. The manager emphasized to the rep team his expectations—in both work-hours and dollars.  But there was probably one more area to consider: specific activity.  Most reps we see know that hard work pays rewards, but they don’t know how much hard work is requi ...

Six motivation mistakes that stop success

Since we work for more than money (see previous post), what do we do when we have salespeople who are content before our team reaches our goal?  Here are some mistakes I’ve seen (and made) with team members who stopped before the goal was accomplished: Mistake #1: Believe everyone is motivated like you are.  Most managers and leaders were promoted because we put our jobs above most everything else.  That’s why it is now our job to help get the folks who were not promoted to achieve higher goals.  Obviously, we’re all motivated in different ways. Mistake #2: Use the same tools that worked with us and expect those tools to succeed with others.  Since we’re motivated differently than most of the folks who work with us, we need to find the right tools that fit them. Mistake #3: Get mad and give the lower performers the management cold shoulder.  This doesn’t work well at home and performs worse at work.  Sure, there is awkwardness when you have ...

Manager Pre-requisite: Create

Hiring new managers is a humbling experience.  I've had hits.  I've had misses.  And that's why I work so hard to minimize misplaced hires--so I keep a file of competencies that I expect in new managers. While visiting Curriculum Night for my seventh-grader, one teacher presented the new grading system for the school:    Remember / Understand / Apply    40%   Analyze / Evaluate / Create    60% In essence, 40% of the grade will come from showing the ability to memorize, understand and apply the material while 60% of the grade will come from analyzing, evaluating and creating new material from the base concepts.  The weight is with the Creators. Recently, a client said that they really liked a new manager they hired a short time back.  During the interview process, the new manager demonstrated an ability to talk the industry jarg ...

Internet 2.0 - The Growth Game-plan in a Tough Economy

John Chambers runs the Internet. His work touches almost everything on the Internet.  He has a presence in almost every cranny of the Internet.  From the router than runs the broadband connection in your home to the network switches, gateways and such that run businesses and telecommunications networks, Chambers' company is driving today's Internet. And John Chambers has no intention of slowing down the progress of the company he leads--Cisco.  He envisions the Internet 2.0 where real-time video replaces the ubiquity of today's text-based world. The economic downturn doesn't dissuade him from his vision.  Chambers looked at the history of economic cycles, the tech industry and his company in devising a game-plan.  The Wall Street Journal, in a interview with Chambers, outlined the four pillars of his game-plan for a tough economy: Be realistic.  Gauge how many challenges are created by the economy and how many are self-inflicted Assess your situ ...

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