Some of us have a tendency to do it alone. There’s a sense of triumph that accompanies the phrase “I did that.” But doing it alone can also be a lonely and unsuccessful path. That is especially true in fundraising. Here’s our anti-dote to the fundraising blues: build a team.
If you’re an executive director or CEO seeking to grow your organization eight types of people should be represented on your fundraising team. The first is you. That’s right – you have to be part of the team. Are you committed to raising funds for your organization or are you expecting someone else to do it? Will you – and can you – provide the leadership and the vision? The next person you need is your board chair. Do you have a relationship with the chair of the board? Do they understand what you are trying to do? Do you understand their vision and why they are willing to lead the board? Do the two of you have a shared commitment to the nonprofit and its goals? Consider your board chair your primary ally and take time to strengthen this important relationship with open lines of communication and timely sharing of information.
In terms of engaging staff, engage your right-hand person. At a large organization that could be the chief of staff, in a smaller nonprofit it could be an assistant or program leader. What’s most important is that this person serves as your “ambassador” across the organization. You will also need a major donor on your team, someone who is willing to reach out to others who could make a major gift. Add a community stakeholder to help engage the community and address the political and social implications of your fundraising. Don’t forget to include your family on your team. They need to understand the long hours you may end up working: they should believe in what you are trying to do and give you moral support.
Back to your staff, your team requires the involvement of the CFO or other person who handles the money. This person brings deep knowledge of the organization’s financial position, projections, and cash flow management. They will play an important role in creating realistic budgets and in sharing requested financial information with donors. Consider your CFO as the person who keeps you honest: they will tug at your sleeve when you try to “spend a dollar twice.” Finally, a communications expert will help you educate and motivate people, especially those who could make or influence a gift. Consistent marketing and communications increase people’s awareness of your nonprofit and its impact. Remember, it is hard for people to give when they don’t know you.
We always recommend adding a ninth member to the team when possible. That member is a fundraising consultant who can share the ins and outs of fundraising. You’ll want someone you trust, who understands your culture, and who can guide you. We hope you’ll ask us to be part of your team!
Copyright 2024 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Video and phone conferencing services always available. Let us help you grow your fundraising. Call us at (901) 522-8727 or visit www.saadandshaw.com.