Is your fundraising program lagging?
Right now, employers are searching for great fundraising professionals. The current market means people looking for work are in a greater position of power.
If your organization is looking, here are a few things to consider.
Fundraising that succeeds requires investment
I’ll wait here while that sinks in.
You have to spend money to raise money.
(Or you have to have marvelously talented volunteers and staff who will spend far more time than you can imagine… that sometimes works.
Mostly, it doesn’t.)
Like anything worthwhile, it takes money to raise money. It takes talent and drive and time, too.
So let’s look at a few areas that many organizations try to skimp on… and probably pay for that shortcut.
Invest in fundraising staff
This is the most important investment any organization can make. And I know we have a well-deserved reputation in the sector for paying poorly and still getting by.
But what if you didn’t just get by? What if… you succeed, year on year? What if you kept more talented employees. And what if you then benefited from the relationships they developed with donors and funders, with board members and other volunteers?
Invest money in hiring and in staff pay. And give them enough time off – and mean it. (No calls. No work. They’re away.)
Invest in your programs
I don’t mean your service programs here. I mean your fundraising program.
That means you spend more money to reach your donors where they are. If you don’t have a talented fundraising writer on staff, you hire one… and have a promising staff member learn.
It also means you plan a whole year of fundraising communications. (No, one annual appeal doesn’t work.)
Do direct mail appeals and newsletters cost money? Yes. Done well, they’re raise more money. Lots more money. So track your results. You should be raising more money with increased appeals and donor stewardship communications.
Invest in fundraising learning
Your staff can be both more satisfied with the work and better at it if you include learning opportunities in their job. That means the organization pays for them. And time learning is counted as work time.
Everything they bring back will help the organization. Why should they have to foot that bill?
Afraid you’ll help train someone who will then leave for a better job? Ask yourself why that job is better at attracting good fundraisers. Use what you learn to invest in your critical fundraising staff.
Benefits that don’t cost money
There are also ways you can improve your fundraising and your staff satisfaction that don’t cost much money – or none at all.
Resist the urge to dictate fundraising decisions to the fundraisers. That’s their job. And feeling in control of your work and trusted matters a lot.
Don’t police your staff. Look at their work, not whether they’re at their desks. Fundraising makes that easy… are your fundraisers, as a team, raising more money?
Ensure your fundraisers have what they need to succeed. Access to the organization’s email and social channels? Yes. A voice when organizational decisions are made that will impact fundraising? Yes.
Fundraising starts with people. Take care of your people.
Photo: Greg Rosenke