Your non-profit can learn something from the Chicago Cubs


Let me set the stage for you. It is a Sunday afternoon, and I am sitting in the bleachers waiting for the start of a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs (a team that I’ve been a fan of since my birth 44 years ago) and the Atlanta Braves. It is hot . . . VERY HOT! Then a song written in 1969 titled “Hey Hey Holy Mackerel” started blaring over the speakers. This song is intended to be a fight song. Never heard of it? Here are the lyrics words by I. C. Haag and music by JOhn Frigo):

Hey hey! Holy Mackerel!
No doubt about it,
The Cubs are on their way. (Hey hey!)
The Cubs are gonna hit today,
They’re gonna pitch today,
They’re gonna field today.
Come what may the Cubs are gonna win today.Hey hey! Holy Mackerel!
No doubt about it,
The Cubs are on their way.
They got the hustle.
They got the bustle.
The Chicago Cubs have come to play.
The Chicago Cubs are on their way.

Wanna hear it? Here is the YouTube version for your enjoyment:

OK . . . the scene is set. Now image another Cubs game in the history books and the reality setting in:

  • They aren’t on their way
  • They didn’t pitch today
  • They didn’t hit today (well, maybe a little bit)
  • They didn’t field today
  • Did I mention that they really aren’t on their way?

The morale to the story?

Be careful about the promises you make because you might disappoint your fans! How is this applicable to your non-profit organization? Simple! Consider the following:

  • Your mission statement is akin to the Chicago Cubs fight song.
  • Your vision statement is also akin to Hey Hey Holy Mackerel.
  • Your marketing tag line and public service announcements are also rally cries, right?
  • And your donors are very much fans.

When you organization makes promises that aren’t delivered upon, you’re setting yourself up for trouble.

Don’t believe me?

Then go ask the Chicago Cubs who purportedly are selling one million fewer tickets this year than they did a number of years ago. Ouch! That must hurt. Hopefully, the promises they’re making as part of their rebuilding plan are things they will deliver on (and soon).

Are you assessing your agency’s effectiveness? Who are you engaging in that assessment? How are you assessing your agency? And what are you doing about it?

Don’t torture your donors and supporters for more than a century. Start your assessment and planning process today and include all of your stakeholders in that process.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

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About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on July 15, 2014, in nonprofit and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Erik,

    OMG you did go there … ha!

    Sent on the new Sprint Network from my Samsung Galaxy S®4.

    • Hi John . . . I did go there. It was just too good not to. Thanks for sharing your father-son day at the ballpark with me and John. We enjoyed your company very much!

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