Sometimes you are the one person responsible for fundraising for your organization. When that’s the situation our guidance is this: start small and plan BIG.
The most important thing to know – and act on – is that you must have a well-defined job description. You can contribute to creating it if you are already in the job. If you are considering such a position, be sure to ask for the job description and review it closely. It needs to define what you are being asked to take responsibility for and the resources available to you. One of those resources needs to be the executive director. He or she needs to dedicate time to cultivation and solicitation, and to meeting with you each week. Yes, every week.
Look out for that catch phrase “and other responsibilities as assigned.” That should be no more than 10% of your time. Your primary responsibility is fundraising, and it cannot be pushed aside.
Here are 15 other suggestions to help you increase your effectiveness and reduce your stress.
- Understand that your role will change from that of being a primary solicitor to being a fund development manager.
- Start by developing and planning small projects: hopefully they will be successful and build confidence both internally and externally.
- Develop a fundraising plan that will cover 18 to 24 months. Secure buy-in from all parties in your organization: board, volunteers, and fellow staff members.
- Look closely at your fundraising priorities and goals: Are they achievable? Should they be adjusted?
- Go after the largest gifts first instead of focusing on smaller gifts and events that yield lower dollar amounts to your organization.
- Build a team of fundraising volunteers so your fundraising can become volunteer driven.
- Seek out organizations and individuals who can take on a specific project from beginning to end.
- Work closely with your CEO to develop a culture of fundraising that includes all staff and volunteers.
- Take the time to ensure all parties concerned – whether volunteers or staff – understand their roles and responsibilities.
- Seek out in-kind services and resources to help develop your program.
- Take advantage of the skills and experiences of fellow staff members in other areas of your organization.
- Create a sense of urgency and meet regularly with your volunteers – and non-development staff – to track progress and adjust your program.
- Surround yourself with a small group of advisors who can assist in developing and implementing your plan. They may be local or in another community, but in all cases should be people who are accessible to you.
- Look seriously at outsourcing work that would otherwise be the responsibility of staff. This can include activities such as: special event management, grant writing and research, social media, website management, data management, direct mail.
- Secure a fundraising consultant or coach who can help you manage and implement your fundraising activities.
When you’re a one person shop you have to do an extraordinary job of managing people and resources.
Copyright 2019 – Mel and Pearl Shaw
When you are ready to build a fund development program, grow your fundraising, or increase board engagement we are here to help. (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.