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ROI Redux…Return On Involvement

return on investment


Return on Investment is one of those gross measures many boards and CEOs focus on as an overall measure of effectiveness. Generally speaking it is a useful tool except if you are in a growth mode. While the ROI might suffer, your top line revenue should grow significantly rendering your added expenses justifiable.

My colleague Bill Gross raised an interesting perspective recently that addresses Return on Involvement (ROIv). There are many ways to look at this metric, but for now, let’s examine how the ROIv affects the ROI at the highest level of volunteer involvement.

I view “involvement” as staff activities that include volunteer management for:
· Board members
· Board committee members
· Event committee members
· Campaign cabinet members

Managing these groups properly can bring great returns, but requires a great deal of time by senior staff members to do properly. And the return on that investment of staff time is often directly correlated with the effectiveness of your volunteer recruitment process.

In other words, you can work your tail off managing and hand-holding leadership volunteers, but if they are not motivated or have limited philanthropic capacity and access to capacity, the return on their involvement – at the cost of high level staff time – will not be sufficient. The opportunity costs of highly paid and productive staff diverting their attention from relationship building and fundraising with qualified donor candidates are difficult to calculate… but can be significant.

The best place to invest staff time is in strong recruitment and nominating processes for boards and committees. Then, when your staff investment in the right human capital, you will reap the appropriate benefits in ROI capital.

If you are in a situation where the human capital you are working with is poorly aligned with your advancement objectives, then you need to define a strategy that enhances and speeds your volunteer recruitment practices or reduces your staff investment in volunteer involvement, and direct your efforts to more staff driven fundraising.

See a GivingTake post The Calculus of Staff vs. Volunteer Driven Fundraising that may be helpful in justifying needed changes in strategy.
Your takes:

1. The ROI metric has many dimensions including ROIv.

2. Assigning a value to staff involvement in volunteer development and involvement will help to justify strategy and to measure ROIv.

3. Opportunity costs are real when productive fundraisers cannot be successful when working with limited human capital.

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