Institutional Knowledge

An executive that has a deep understanding of an organization and its donors can be good for an organization.  Unless, too much of the institutional knowledge resides only in his or her head – then it is scary.

How do you know if your nonprofit falls into this category?  If the executive director or development professional can not delegate and says things like, “I have to be involved in deciding who to honor this year,” “I know which major donors have already said no,” “only I understand how to segment the donors…” or “I keep meaning to write that down so I can pass it along to a volunteer.”

This is not to say that organizational experience is not valuable – no one really wants to go through the old invites to see who has been honored in what capacity for the past 15 years.  A quick conversation with someone who has been around is much easier, but the point is that someone could look it up—if he or she were so inclined—and, if it were retrievable.

Life happens and so do unexpected departures.  Ensure the longevity and sustainability of the organization by having a clear system of recording data so that the institutional knowledge is discoverable.  That will make delegation that much easier.