(Team) Building Blocks
As you build your fundraising team, view fundraising as a community effort. Make sure each staff member has the education, experience and ability, as well as the desire, to be trained in new roles based on the organization’s changing focus. It is also imperative that staffers understand the pyramid of giving and how the elements of annual gifts, major gifts, planned gifts and development services relate to each other.
As you look at your total fundraising program, determine the general attributes that each staff member needs in his or her area of responsibility.
Annual gift/program staff needs to have a variety of skills and abilities for special events, direct mail, online giving, white mail, special-gift personal solicitations, and programs to generate new and upgrade existing donors. Many of these skills are transaction-oriented on an annual basis. Staffers who work with annual gifts need:
- Attention to detail.
- High energy.
- Experience with marketing tools.
- Ability to process a variety of tasks at the same time.
- Enjoyment of working with volunteers.
- Knowledge of website and online tools, texting, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.
- Ability to interact with corporate CEOs and staff.
- Multitasking ability with speaking, writing and engagement expertise.
- Ability to promote philanthropy as a team sport internally and externally and the role annual gifts play in the big picture.
- Understanding of how to promote the organization’s brand and mission.
Major gifts/planned gifts involve more complex fundraising for larger gifts over time for more specific purposes or legacy-type gifts. Employees in this area need specific abilities, many of which are transformational and may take several years to generate optimal results. They include:
- Ability to create a portfolio of prospects through identification, solicitation, cultivation and stewardship.
- Ability to be a “hunter” with a desire to achieve specific financial goals and objectives.
- Understanding of organizational priorities — knowing when to ask for a gift of assets today or a planned gift tomorrow.
- Ability to speak and present, as well as listen.
- Understanding of and desire to build relationships.
- Passion for the organization and knowledge of where major and planned gifts fit.
- High ethics, trust in and love for the institution.
- Compassion, experience, servant leadership and a positive attitude.
- Technical knowledge and ability to work with financial professionals and connectors of prospects, professionals and organizational representatives.
- Sensitivity to the needs of others and ability to work with individuals of all ages, while being a program builder and storyteller.
The “heartbeat of the staff” must process a variety of tasks to keep the team running forward. Many of the skills that these staff members need are complex and integrate transactional and transformational functions. They include:
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy.