Once upon a time, we humans wandered the earth, hunting and gathering for food we needed to survive. Then, tens of thousands of years ago, we taught ourselves to farm. About 200 years ago we began to master machinery—and the industrial age began. And so it kept going: the knowledge economy, the digital economy and the creative economy.

Today, we live in an attention economy.

The single most precious resource to all of us is someone else’s attention. In a world so populated with people, organizations, interests and channels, there’s an awful lot of noise and buzz. It’s harder than ever before to be heard and noticed—let alone responded to.

Why am I giving you this history seminar when I know how many other demands there are on your attention this very minute? Quite simply, to put some context around two words that begin with the letter ‘s’ and must be first and foremost in your charity’s thoughts and actions these days.

The first ‘s’ word is seamless…

In short, if your organization is going to relate effectively with your audiences, stakeholders and donors, you’re going to have to speak with a single voice. Your communications people and your fundraisers can’t speak different languages anymore. Your program people and volunteers must be presenting a unified voice if you’re going to have any hope of cutting through the noise and clutter out there.

The second ‘s’ word is silos…

Silos are the enemy of seamless. Silos have walls and fences; they stand as independent little fiefdoms where things happen differently. We talk about silos a lot, but now we must get really serious about bringing them down.

I like to think that we don’t have silos here at Good Works. I don’t run the donor research and legacy division. My colleague doesn’t run the direct response and stewardship department. My other colleague doesn’t own the digital and media enterprise department. My colleagues and I work together seamlessly, as do all of the Good Workers we collaborate with every day. We get clients and figure out who is in the best position to give them what they need. Period. Egos are parked at the door and we simply work hard to meet client needs.

I’m not trying to boast here (although I guess it sounds like I am). I’m simply trying to illustrate how to act out of necessity. At Good Works, it’s not about us. It’s about our clients and what they need today and tomorrow.

And so it should be with you.

It’s not about major gifts and annual giving arguing over budget money. It’s not about fundraising, marketing/communications and IT jostling over who gets to control the website’s content and design. It’s about the people you serve—and the people who give back.

Which brings us back to the first ‘s’ word. Your one and only job is to give your donors, members, clients and volunteers a seamless, meaningful and wonderful experience.

Do that well and they’ll keep coming back. And when they do that everyone’s happy, and the world becomes a better place.

This article first appeared in the Hilborn, a news source for nonprofit leaders on trends, tips and analysis of developments in the fields of fundraising and nonprofit management.