For fundraisers and other nonprofit professionals, the summer months are often slow. Donors, board members, and other colleagues head out for vacations. It becomes difficult to hold committee meetings and get things accomplished. One board of directors I used to work with met monthly all year-long except in the months of July and December—December because of the long holiday break and July because they recognized that practically everyone was on vacation.
So how can you make the most of this summer slow down? Here are 12 things you can do while the office is quieter during the summer months:
Creating Your 2015 Development Plan and Setting Your Fundraising Goals
One of the things I’m often asked–especially by Executive Directors who do not have a fundraising background–is what is reasonable to expect of their development directors.
This question is hardly surprising since the overwhelming majority of executive directors are unhappy with their development directors and feel that they should expect more. The crucial report, UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising, reports that only 27% of Executive Directors of organizations with budgets of $1 million or less are “very satisfied” with their development directors. Executive Directors at larger organizations tend to be more satisfied with their development staff, but even there, the majority are unhappy with them. At nonprofits with budgets over $10 million—the organizations that have the budget size that presumably allows them to attract and retain top-notch fundraising professionals– Only 41% of Executive Directors report that they are very satisfied with their development directors. It is universal, then, that E.D.’s are unhappy with their Development Directors.
Further, disturbingly, 25% of the Executive Directors report that their last development director was fired. The primary reasons for that are poor fundraising performance (31%), poor performance in general (31%), or a non-fit with the organizational culture (22%). On the last one I’ll say, if a fundraiser is trying to create a fundraising culture where there is none, then OF COURSE the fundraiser won’t fit with the culture AND ISN’T THAT A GOOD THING that the Executive Director should support?