5 Tips Development Directors Should Use for Success
Between the Great Resignation and many people reconsidering their career goals, your team members may be re-evaluating their commitment to your workplace and reflecting on what exactly they want to achieve in their roles.
You can solidify priorities today to set you and your team up for a successful 2023, and importantly, retain your best people.
Value Your Team
It’s no secret turnover is high in development departments. It’s costly, interrupts workflows and chips away at staff morale.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Investing in your people is a proven retention strategy. In fact, your employees expect you to put time and money into their continuous learning.
A 2022 survey found 83% of respondents believe employers should invest in staff’s continued education. If you aren’t already doing this, there’s still time to prioritize it for 2023.
Set aside budget dollars. Be flexible and encourage team members to be out of the office for conferences, lunch and learn sessions, master classes etc.
Take your commitment a step further. Add earning a certification or credential to their 2023 goals. Show your people you know they are worth the investment.
Hold Effective One-on-One Meetings
One-on-one meetings might seem like just another item on your to-do list, but research shows they lead to better overall retention and relationships with staff.
This is your team members’ sacred time to share with you their progress, challenges and concerns. The person you’re meeting with should be given the opportunity to run through their list of projects and questions upfront. Afterwards, it’s your chance to turn to your own list.
Unless absolutely necessary, don’t cancel a one-on-one. If you do, reschedule it for the very near future. These cancellations can cause staff to wonder if you think they don’t deserve your time.
Compare Your Job Package to Similar Organizations
COVID-19 changed the rules on hiring and employee power. The idea that employees should be grateful that they’ve got a job with your organization is no longer the case.
The experts tell us workplace culture has never been more important than it is right now. If we want to retain our people, we need to ensure a culture of appreciation, having a voice and transparency to name a few.
We also need to have a culture of fair and competitive remuneration. Do staff packages align with the value your team members bring every day? Are your salaries competitive? Does it appropriately reward their skill level? Look at other organizations’ job postings and verify that what you’re offering stacks up.
No workplace is frictionless. No boss has a sightline into every conflict or grievance.
We’ve all heard of death by a thousand cuts, and that’s often what drives employees away. Few people quit over one episode. It’s the daily grind of feeling unheard, being given unreasonable requests and being forced to pick up the slack for co-workers that leads to an eventual exit.
Create a safe space for employees to provide unfiltered feedback. In one-on-one meetings ask if there are any issues or areas for improvement the employee wishes to share. Inviting feedback shows your genuine concern.
If you wait for employees to proactively voice issues, they’ll often stay silent for not wanting to be seen as rocking the boat or whining. Employees will only share concerns if they believe you will act and there won’t be negative repercussions. When they share with you, avoid placing blame, talking unprofessionally about colleagues or acting punitive.
Staff have a fear of getting others in trouble, so they keep quiet. That can lead to problems percolating until a gasket blows.
It’s up to you to build trust and spaces where feedback can be given without fear.
Hire for Grit and Transferable Skills
When you’re next filling a vacancy, be flexible. There are people in development with 10 years of experience who may not actually bring much to your team besides a CV touting a decade in the sector.
Fundraisers need grit, determination, clever thinking and perseverance. If their role is donor-facing, they require people skills and emotional intelligence. I encourage you to read "11 Characteristics of Successful Fundraisers," which reviews insights from Beth Breeze, director of the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent, and her project, “The Formation of Fundraisers: the Role of Personal Skills in Asking for Money.
The ins and outs of fundraising can be taught, as evidenced by the growing number of exceptional conferences and workshops in recent years. The personal qualities required to succeed in fundraising are often inherent.
When filling your next role, ask candidates questions to uncover their personal strengths and what challenges them. Do they effortlessly connect with others? Have a track record from another industry of soaring high over obstacles?
Take a second look at those CVs that don’t scream, “I have heaps of development experience.” Examine them for transferable skills that could make a candidate a star player on your team.
Make your team the team where people stay for the long-haul by giving them the support, space, resources, professional development and voice they need to be a collaborator and appreciated for all they bring every day.
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.
Lesley Ray is the executive manager of Philanthropy at Mater Foundation, one of Australia’s leading healthcare foundations where she has the greatest privilege of working with philanthropists to connect their personal values and motivations with Mater’s mission to provide exceptional healthcare, education and world-leading research.
She is past chair of CFRE International. Lesley is a fellow and past national chair of Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) and gained her CFRE certification in 2002. Lesley is also a founding member of Women & Change, a women’s giving circle that aims to engage women in philanthropy.