Everything we've covered up to now is the appetizer before the main course, which is continuous improvement of fundraising results. Yes, it's necessary to create funder selection strategies and all the other components of the SMART Way™ model. If you don't transform the way your development team works, and move them from tactical to strategic, nothing new will happen. The implementation phase transforms the SMART Way from an academic exercise into a different way of working that provides better results year after year.
Fundraising the SMART Way, as I've said before, is not merely a set of clever tactics to obtain this particular gift from that particular prospect. That's not the point. The point is to manage the slippery business of fund development for continuous improvement, as measured by the predictability and consistency of income growth. The higher the productivity, the more gifts at lower cost of time and effort.
Predictable, consistent income growth does not come about simply by trying harder, staying up later, working more hours, or showing more enthusiasm. At the end of the day, those practices can even hurt growth. To make consistent gains over the long haul, we need the kinds of guidelines, performance metrics, and reporting methods I discuss in this book, and we need them to be deployed properly. It takes the combination of good reporting methods and enlightened leadership skills to make this work come alive.