How to Find and Keep a Great Fundraiser
The news is not good lately about how effective the head fundraisers are at nonprofit organizations. A new study by CompassPoint reveals some startling realities about the fundraiser role in the nonprofit sector:
- 25 percent of executive directors fired their last development directors
- 33 percent of executive directors are lukewarm about their current development directors
- More than 50 percent of executive directors say they can’t find well-qualified fundraisers
- 50 percent of development directors plan to leave within the next two years
- And 40 percent plan to leave fundraising altogether
That sounds like a fundraising crisis to me. And it’s just another example of why fundraising in the nonprofit sector is broken.
What I find most troubling about CompassPoint’s recent study is that it makes nonprofits sound so powerless to do anything about this deep dissatisfaction with fundraising performance. But I think it’s not staff, board or donors who are lacking — rather it’s the entire fundraising approach.
Here is how to go about finding and keeping a great fundraiser.
Hire a money head
Don’t hire someone who can just write grants or someone who can just work with individual donors. Take a look at the entire financial engine of your organization, and hire someone who can develop and execute a strategy for strengthening and growing all aspects of that financial engine. If you have significant government grants or earned income, make sure you have someone on board who understands and can work with those aspects as well as the private money that flows to the organization.
Develop a financing plan
Don’t just expect to hire someone who will magically make money appear. Your head fundraiser has to be in charge of developing and executing an overall financing strategy for your organization. And that means that you need an overall financing strategy for your organization. Without a strategy, your chief fundraiser and your nonprofit are sunk.