We're All Snowflakes: Knowing When To Be Unique

As fundraisers, executive directors, marketers and general staff at nonprofits, it has been ingrained in our heads that our organizations are unique. “No one does what we do.” That is the message we tell our constituents, from donors to clients to members--everyone. And while that singularity is essential for fundraising and marketing, this conditioning around the pure uniqueness of our organization can hurt us when it comes to technology.

Software selection and use can often feel completely overwhelming for an organization. What do we choose? How do we start? In many cases, this bewilderment is due to the uniqueness conditioning--organizations feel like nothing out there could possibly meet their specific and unique needs. “No one does what we do in this exact way, so we’ll need to come up with everything on our own.” 

The reality, however, is that most nonprofits overlap in technology needs to a surprising extent. This means that a selection process, and certainly implementation, may be simpler than previously thought. 

Uniqueness, while a value on the outward-facing side of our organizations, makes life much harder internally when it comes to supporting technology and the infrastructure processes in which it functions. If organizations could set aside that constant desire to identify differentiating characteristics when thinking internally and spend a little time looking at similarities, software selection and implementation would be so much easier. 

Pull off that veil of uniqueness and realize that people have been there and done that, and that--at least in this regard--that's a good thing.