When fundraising isn’t good, it is never [or almost never] simply the result of having an ineffective development professional. When fundraising isn’t strong, it’s because one or more of these things at your organization is broken, damaged, or failing. This isn’t to say that a good or bad fundraiser doesn’t matter; it’s simply that that isn’t the whole story (often it’s not even the biggest part of the story). The bad news here, also, is that a great fundraiser can’t fix fundraising when other fundamental organizational things are broken. Before you reach for a pink slip…
8 Questions Fundraisers Can Ask to Avoid Taking a Bad Job: A Different Take on the Revolving Door Crisis
I wanted this week to write my blog not about how organizations can hang onto fundraisers but how fundraisers can avoid going to work in impossible situations in the first place. It’s tough for fundraising professionals to ferret out the truth in the interview process because everyone is going to tell you that their culture is fantastic, that their workplace is pleasant (“we’re all one big family,”) and that goals are reasonable. Here are 8 questions to ask to get to the heart of the matter…
“Are you going to look for a new fundraising job?” my mom, brother, husband, and best friends all want to know.
“I don’t know,” I’ve been answering. “I feel like a woman who has just gotten out of a bad marriage and doesn’t yet feel like going on a date.”
Clean data: It doesn’t sound sexy. Yet, without it, you are wasting time and money. Here are some great reasons to spend some time on your donor database.
…I believe the concept of a culture of philanthropy or the lack of one is a useful idea for understanding whether or not an organization is ready to begin and sustain a development program.
However, I also believe that part of how receptive an organization is to a development program has little to do with how it feels about fundraising and more to do with how it feels about change.
In a recently concluded survey of 1200 fundraisers, Gail Perry of Fired Up Fundraising asked “What Keeps 1200 Fundraisers Up at Night?” The answers were almost all were management related, painting a picture of pretty unpleasant places for many fundraisers to work.
With the average tenure of Directors of Development now being less than two years and major gift officers being sixteen months according to a Nonprofit Times article out earlier this week, it seems fundraisers have good reasons for imitating the Runaway Bride, bolting out the door at the thought of making a long-term commitment to the organizations they serve.
In Gail’s survey, fundraisers mentioned too much to do, too little assistance, too little support from management, confusion about priorities, changing priorities or changing goals mid-year, and an absence of a coordinated fundraising plan. Yuck!
No wonder we’re unhappy with 57% of us planning to leave our current positions and 40% of us contemplating exiting the development profession altogether, according to Compasspoint’s oft-cited Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising. study.