Staffing & Human Resources
Following are some things to keep in mind if you want to rise to the top of your field -- whether in nonprofit fundraising or any other field -- and a few caveats about how to stay there once you do. How to get to the top 1. Don’t work for anyone or anything you don’t admire. 2. If you aren’t excited about your job or your field, change jobs or fields. 3. Don’t be afraid to fail. 4. Do every possible job in your company -- at least briefly. 5. Be 100 percent dependable; do what you promise -- and on time.
Do you yearn to work in a development office where professional staff members are considered among the best in their field; where the entire staff works as a team to exceed program goals year after year; where no silos exist and everyone gets along famously; and where it’s rewarding and fun to go to work every day?
Of course you do. Who doesn’t? To make this ideal scenario a reality, you have to start with the team you already have in place.
Building organization capacity is about systematically investing in developing an organization’s internal systems (for example, its people, processes and infrastructure) and its external relationships (for example, with funders, partners and volunteers) so that it can better realize its mission and achieve greater impact, writes Mike Hudson, director of Compass Partnership, a U.K.-based management consultancy specializing in the nonprofit sector, in his new book, Managing at the Leading Edge: New Challenges in Managing Nonprofit Organizations.
The 2004 Association of Fundraising Professionals’ annual survey cited two important trends. First: Large organizations once again outperformed smaller organizations in fundraising — no surprise there. Second: Major gifts and planned gifts are on the rise.
More than 80 percent of AFP’s 3,000 survey respondents said they expect revenue from major gifts and planned giving to remain strong or increase in 2005, while casting direct mail as essentially flat.
I have come to believe that those who contribute the most to the leadership in our profession, as well as achieve the greatest success raising funds for their organizations, are those people who were mentored and inspired by other development professionals.
Bernard Ross is an authority on fundraising in the nonprofit sector and an inspiring public speaker, but he wouldn’t describe himself as a motivator.
In fact, the influential 50-year-old director of the London-based Management Centre thinks the idea of motivating anyone to do anything often is nothing more than a conceit that managers harbor about themselves.
For the past 27 years, I’ve been recruiting senior-level development professionals and training younger, aspiring individuals to be fundraising consultants and executive recruiters in the nonprofit world.
In all my years of consulting with nonprofit leaders and their boards, I’ve learned that finding and holding on to great talent is no easy feat, yet it’s one of the most pivotal factors contributing to an organization’s success in fundraising.
The job of a nonprofit executive director involves numerous and ever-changing roles and responsibilities, which can lead to personal burnout — and paralysis for an entire organization, write Mim Carlson and Margaret Donohoe, leadership development consultants and authors who draw on robust careers in the nonprofit sector to deliver a new book, “The Executive Director’s Survival Guide.”
Carlson and Donohoe provide suggestions for tackling duties such as fundraising and creating a budget, as well as juggling internal priorities of staff and volunteer development, financial management, program effectiveness, resource development and board relations.