You probably know what the greatest threat is to nonprofit marketing. It’s not a sluggish economy or too many good causes out promoting themselves.
No, it’s actually an internal threat – the tendency of growing stale – both on the part of the ministry development staff and the marketing agency. Even with the greatest causes, when you live them 24/7, day after day, year after year, you can get predictable.
Outsiders are captivated when they learn what’s happening. Insiders (both staff and agency people) can fall into the trap of viewing it as “all in a day’s work.”
In the same way, when you’ve been with a company for more than 11 years like I have with Masterworks, you can get set in your ways, even when you’re relatively young.
Friends often ask me, “Lee, how are things going at Masterworks? Do you still enjoy working there?”
My answer is always an emphatic “Yes!” I’m passionate about Masterworks and the ministry opportunity we have to serve some of the greatest clients in the world. I don’t get bored or tired of the “same old, same old” because Masterworks deliberately reinvents itself every three or four years. Tracking the leading trends and technologies in marketing and communications, we retool, restructure, and revolutionize how we do what we do on a regular basis. Over our 23 years, we’ve found that’s what you do if you want to be on the creative, effective, leading edge of marketing and development for Kingdom-focused ministries.
Launching Masterworks with 3.0 bandwidth + 4G energy
Here’s what Masterworks looks like in the unfolding days of 2012. After 8 months of dreaming, strategizing, and running prototypes based on a broad range of data points, we divided our staff into four new teams – three are client-facing and one serves and supports the other three. In a sense, we have become several smaller agencies that benefit from the overall strength of a large agency with a tradition of making real investments in the future.
Each team serves a set of clients linked together by some logical characteristics. Going with the theme of quality outcomes powered by innovation and excellence, our teams chose the names of Master Artists (aka Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles): Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello. What better nomenclature for Masterworks!
How our clients are benefitting . . .
While the transition has been almost seamless, and most clients hardly noticed the launch late last fall, there are at least four distinct benefits for the ministries we serve:
1. Increased responsiveness and timeliness to client requests. We can “pounce” on opportunities with significant potential.
2. Stronger team focus with laser accuracy on client distinctives.
3. Direct contact with Masterworks specialists so clients can get one-on-one, face-to-face expertise and thoughtful leadership while avoiding the communication chains that lead to misunderstanding and mistakes.
4. Better nimbleness, fluidity and flexibility as conditions change and opportunities evolve. Cycle time for projects is becoming shorter and efficiency greater which is already resulting in clients saving costs.
Staff members here at Masterworks are also enjoying these benefits:
1. The power to truly “team” with those players who are needed for maximum success on a particular project.
2. Greater relational and working synergy with colleagues.
3. More natural mentoring/coaching environment across agency functions.
4. Increased opportunities for innovation and job satisfaction.
Bottom line, our clients are experiencing a higher level of satisfaction and our staff is set free from a lot of the bureaucracy incumbent in larger agencies. Today, Masterworks is an agency of 120 people that functions with the leanness and responsiveness of an agency of 30-40 dedicated, motivated innovators.
The pivotal principle
I recently came across a quote that captures what we’re doing here in the life of our clients and Masterworks as an agency. It’s quite profound:
“Bureaucracy is guided by process. Leaders of effective organizations are guided by principles.”
So at Masterworks, between teams Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello, we’ve created new rockets to carry our clients on a swift and targeted course into the future of nonprofit marketing. And the lift-off couldn’t be more exciting!