One of our consultants was recently in a staff meeting at a client organization when a member of the marketing department proudly announced that they had put an end to email usage. At least, they had agreed within their team never to email one another, about anything, ever.
We think that strategy is brilliant.
For one thing, when you work in close quarters and regular contact with a team of professionals, you have a number of other tools at your disposal for communication: Project Management apps (Basecamp, Asana, ToDoist, etc), chatting apps (Slack, gchat, etc), meeting scheduler websites (doodle, Calendly, etc), and face-to-face communication. In fact, this marketing department handles all of their communication in just three channels: Basecamp for project management, Slack for quick notes to one another, and face-to-face meetings for group discussions and big decisions. They still use email to communicate with people outside of the organization.
For another, the choice to migrate intra-departmental communications off of email makes a strong philosophical statement. Just as the modern workplace has put an end to the adage “If it isn’t in a memo, it doesn’t exist,” we have the opportunity to undo another one: “If it isn’t in an email, it doesn’t exist.” In fact, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
So what does this have to do with fundraising? Nothing and everything, because this is about personal organization and time management.
Think of everything that you could accomplish from your inbox in terms of communicating with your donors, when you don’t have to wade through and respond to thousands of emails about scheduling staff meetings, treats in the kitchen, or rounds of notes on a solicitation letter. Of course, there are other benefits to investing your time and energy in a project management tool, for instance—you can use it to remind yourself of donor birthdays, solicit feedback on materials for print, or collect the components of a government funding application from a variety of different departments.
What if, instead of being that pinging sound that plagues you in the middle of the night, your email could be just one of several effective tools in your donor communications arsenal?
Are you sold yet?
Convincing your team to make this kind of switch may not happen overnight, and neither will making the switch itself, but as we have tried to rethink how we communicate with one another on the Donorly Team, we often find it liberating to stop and think “Does this really need to be an email?”