How to Have an Immediate Impact in Your New Fundraising Position
You have just been offered a job as a director of development, so now what?
Well, over the past 20 years, I have had my share of jobs and have started some fundraising offices within nonprofits as part of my consulting practice. As a result, I have gotten pretty good at figuring out the first steps when setting up your development office.
I am going to share with you some of these first steps on what to get started with to make your first three months a success. These first three months are a particular time of "newness" that you can use to your advantage.
Step No. 1: Get established on your working location and equipment. Ensure you set up your office area, so that it will be conducive to your work style and habits and ensure that you have all of the hardware and software you need including training.
Step No. 2: If you don't have the required software, don't skimp by using excel. Start right out by determining what your current and future needs may be, and begin to research and present options for a donor database/CRM system that will meet those needs. You cannot build a successful development program without this foundational component. It is the "brains" behind your program.
Step No. 3: Determine your key areas for planning by conducting a development assessment of the past and current fundraising efforts of the organization.
Step No. 4: Carry out this development assessment and to get acclimated to the new organization, use this time to meet with
- Key leadership staff
- Board of directors
- Any past and/or current donors
- Prospective donors
- Residents and/or constituents
- Other staff
- Anyone else deemed important to the organization
Step No. 5: Use the data that you obtain during this development assessment process to put together a series of recommendations based on best practices that you can put into place during your tenure. Share these recommendations with key leadership and board members to obtain approval and "buy-in."
Step No. 6: Begin to immerse yourself in the new organization's programs and services.
Step No. 7: Begin to craft a case for support if your organization does not already have on in place.
Step No. 8: Determine the key projects that need attention in the immediate future and begin to manage them. Get a handle on your development calendar, including your annual fund, grant application and reporting deadlines.
Step No. 9: Begin to put into place some of the recommendations that you outlined after conducting your development assessment, whether they focus on major gifts, planned giving, individual giving, direct mail, etc.
These are some easy and straightforward ways that you can get up to speed quickly and efficiently in your new role and have an immediate impact on your organization's fund development program. Early wins equals your success.
Robin Cabral is “Hire a CFRE!” the one and only outsourced development professional with close to 25 years experience providing value-added consulting services with razor-sharp monthly result objectives and benchmarked deliverables.
She works with mid-sized nonprofits that want to position themselves to build capacity and generate more fundraising prospects, better donor relationships, and bigger fundraising dollars. She specializes in providing outsourced, interim development services and assisting smaller organizations in their first campaigns (annual, capital, and endowment).
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