It’s Employee Buy-in 101. We all know that part of how we get employees to embrace and actively participate in the work we want and need them to do is to enlist their input. As fundraising professionals, we want staff buy-in—that’s part, after all, of the elusive, holy grail of a culture of philanthropy. In addition, practically, we often need the help of our non-fundraising peers to execute fundraising strategy. The process of asking for, considering, listening to, and responding to the input of our non-fundraising colleagues can be time-consuming. In the throws of our end-of-year campaign or the final few weeks before the gala, enlisting advice isn’t always realistically feasible. At that point in the fundraising cycle, we just need help. So get staff input now.
Resolve to Make Your Workplace a Great Place to Work for Everyone, Including Development Professionals
Most fundraising professionals have very specific goals—how much to raise by when. In contrast, I have worked with very few nonprofit organizations that have meaningful goals for program directors, human resources personnel, marketing personnel, and others. Everyone would benefit (including our clients) if we would demand the same level of excellence from all staff that nonprofits are pretty routinely demanding of development professionals.
A 360-degree review can help uncover cultural issues about which board members may be totally unaware, the kinds of issues that run good staff—fundraisers as well as other professionals—out the door. A regular, 360-degree review process of nonprofit CEOs just might help end the revolving door crisis in fundraising.
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.”
…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.