Establishing performance benchmarks

Desperate times call for desperate measures, but desperate times sometimes call for standard measures, measures that organizations sometimes forget to implement.

Speaking during an Association of Fundraising Professionals international conference, Mary C. McQueen, executive director of development at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, offered an example of how a restructuring of the development office provided necessary evaluation of operations and brought positive results.

The plan overview was as follows:

  • Task audit: who does what?
  • Talent audit: what skills are in house and what skills are needed.
  • Efficiencies research.
  • Strategic plan alignment.
  • Allocation of resources. Not only who should do what but also looking at where it could partner and where combine and what were the technology implications and applications.
  • Action plan.
  • Use of fresh eyes.
  • Fighting the alligators: politics, power, policies and more politics.

The results:

  • There was no change in the number of full-time employees, nine.
  • A saving of $15,000 in the budget.
  • Better task alignment.
  • Higher staff competency.
  • Record levels of funds raised for multiple events and programs.
  • The highest annual total raised in the department’s 10-year history.