'Execution of Tricks' Isn't Enough to Grow Giving
2. Too much time is spent on clearing barriers. “As much as 50 percent of time for leaders of [nonprofits] is devoted to clearing away barriers that are created in the organization itself — CFO issues, accounting, CEOs reluctant to ask for money, board members not participating,” Hartsook says. “It’s good to get all this wasted time out on the table so it can be corrected.”
3. Think long-term planning first. “If you think planning long term, midterm and short term, think about long-term planning first and short-term last. Then lay out a plan and execute it,” Hartsook says.
The key to growing the sector is training and educating nonprofit leaders. To Hartsook’s amazement, he’s found that the majority of nonprofit-management programs require no course in fundraising whatsoever.
“We’re generating future leaders and not exposing them to the fundamentals of fundraising, let alone how to manage it,” he says. “The problem isn’t that people know what to do and aren’t doing it — it’s that they don’t know what to do.”
Part of the issue, according to Hartsook, is that the industry is moving away from mission-driven people in leadership roles — whether that’s the CEO, president or board — and moving toward more professionals from the business world. So while there are undoubtedly many positives to that, “half the people are hired by boards to be managers and don’t understand what the fundraising piece is all about. They have not been formally prepared for that,” Hartsook says.
“The CEO doesn’t wake up and try to harm fundraising. He or she is doing the best they can do, but they aren’t educated on that,” he adds.
That’s why it is so vital for more education in the nonprofit sector for all levels of employees, particularly around fundraising. It’s the only way that giving will see the type of growth other business sectors have achieved over the years.