In my role as consultant, I am thrilled to be hiring a development director for an organization that has never had a fundraising staff member before.
As a fundraising consultant, one of the things I’m always most proud of is when I’m able to help an organization take their fundraising to the next level, and therefore serve more people, open new programs, and generally get closer to fulfilling their mission.
Fortunately, the executive director at this particular nonprofit really gets it. He isn’t hiring someone because he no longer “feels like” fundraising. The executive director understands that by hiring a development staff member, he is growing his team and increasing his fundraising capacity.
Unfortunately, many executive directors do hire development staff because they don’t want to have the fundraising responsibility themselves. However, fundraising is always ultimately the responsibility of the executive director and the board. A great fundraising staff member just enhances the abilities of the board and director to fundraise, but doesn’t eliminate the need for them to participate.
Building an Effective Fundraising Team
Fundraising is a team effort. There are separate and distinct roles for each member of the team, which can be blurred, depending on the organization. Here are some best practices for each team member:
The executive director is the face of the organization. She should be visible in the community and communicating her vision to donors, prospects, and community members. She should be meeting with donors and prospective donors on a regular and ongoing basis, and asking them for donations when appropriate.
Board members are keys to the success of any fundraising campaign and serve as the chief advocates for the organization out in the community. They should be introducing their contacts to the organization, opening doors (making introductions) for the executive director, helping with cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.
Development Director (Staff)
The development director is responsible for coordinating all of the efforts coming out of the development office. The development director should create a plan for raising funds and oversee the implementation of that plan. They should help with training the board, so the team works well together.
Building Your Team
To build your own effective fundraising team, ask yourself the following questions.
- Who is a part of your development team?
- How do you work together?
- Do your board members participate as part of the development team?
- Do you provide training for board members?
Consider your answers and share your thoughts in the comments.