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With Guest Blogger Laurie Buske
Director of Resource Development, Cuso International

What people in your professional life make a real difference to your ability to raise the most money for your cause? Your staff? Your leadership team? If your key agency partners are not on that list, you are missing the opportunity to extend your team, generate innovative ideas and truly solve your biggest fundraising challenges.

What does it take to create an amazing relationship between you and your agency? I think it takes four key things to drive excellence:

  • Clarity on expectations, roles and responsibilities – a shared understanding of what is needed, who is doing what and what the expectations are ensures everyone knows what is expected and where resources are needed. It also drives mutual accountability.
  • Transparency between you and your partners is key – this ensures everyone understands all of the opportunities and challenges that exist and can truly help you exceed your goals. It’s also important to be honest so that resources can be allocated and processes can support the unique needs of your organization.
  • Investment in the relationship – and that’s on both sides! Both you and the agency need to find ways to build a real connection between your teams – by sharing together, learning together and sometimes maybe eating together!
  • Mutual respect – you have hired competent people. They need to respect you as the client – your ideas and input, and you need to respect their expertise and counsel.

And it all boils down to trust – trust that you are working toward a common goal and that together you can do more than you can separately.

Yes, you are paying for your partner to provide key services – just like you are paying your staff and both need to be nurtured and supported.

Your agency partners are often supporting and mentoring your team, keeping their eye on important KPI’s and multiplying your ability to get the work done.

Your agency partners can help you tackle breaking down silos and bridging between programs internally – sometimes it’s just about having a third party at the table. Other times it’s about a different approach to getting people onto the same page or even recognizing their needs and building these into the solution.

When your partners are true extensions of your team – people do better work, have better ideas and are passionate about your cause. Blakely believes in “big brain” meetings – by getting more people in the room from a wide range of areas in both our organization and theirs to challenge the status quo and meet our biggest challenges head on, good partnerships can make the difference between mediocre results and amazing ones!

I encourage you to think differently about your vital partner relationships and help your team and your organization to get more from every single one of the people who are actively working to achieve more in your fundraising and marketing results!

— Laurie Buske