Jennifer Berkshire’s sobering article, “Half of Fundraisers in the Top Job Would Like to Quit” (The Chronicle of Philanthropy, January 13, 2013), points to the widespread issue of the “revolving door” of development directors — causing question over the true path to effective fundraising. The solution is too often viewed as staffing-related and overlooks the importance of board/senior management involvement and having the proper internal fundraising tools in place to execute.
The commitment of salary dollars for directors of development is really a secondary investment in a fundraising program. Start by surrounding your fundraising team, both staff and volunteers, with the proper program elements — donor analytics, donor communication/marketing, proper coaching/training and effective donor stewardship. Without these tools, you are likely setting artificial limits for your program.
Boards and ED’s can help by clearly articulating the organization’s strategic direction and by being regularly engaged in donor cultivation. Fundraising must be viewed as an organization-wide obligation , not one that is delegated to those who are “paid to fund raise.” Adopting this point of view helps create a sustainable fundraising model that can live beyond current staff and senior leadership.