FUNdraising Good Times: Your first 90 days on the job

The first three months can make you or break you as a professional who is entering the job market, or changing from one organization to another.

Congratulations, you got the job. Now all eyes are on you. Quickly build other people’s confidence in you by demonstrating your competence, professionalism, and knowledge. Consider the following as you plan your first 90 days.

Learn how you will be evaluated. Gain a clear understanding of your job description and what is expected of you. If your job description is vague or does not include evaluation criteria, ask what you will be measured against and what the quantitative and qualitative expectations are. Ensure you will meet weekly with your supervisor, and ask about upcoming important dates such as board meetings, special events, and grant application and reporting deadlines.

Learn the basics. You need to know the mission, vision, goals, and values of the organization, and how your CEO or immediate superior articulates and prioritizes these. You also need to know the impact your organization makes and what exactly you will be raising money for. Review the current and prior year fundraising methods and activities. Look at what has been successful and areas where there is room for growth.

Get to know people. Introduce yourself to co-workers and executive leaders and gain an understanding of their skills and experiences. Introduce yourself to volunteer leadership: call people, visit them, greet them at an event or board meeting. Learn who your donors and prospective donors are. Gain an understanding of the power players within your organization and those within the community or region. Ask for a meeting with the executive director, and one with the chair of the development committee.

Be ready for the unexpected. Create a temporary short term fundraising plan that will focus your time and energy and help you meet an expected financial goal. Time will pass and people will want to see results.

Look for what’s really going on – or not going on. Review prior board reports and related materials relating to fund development including minutes from the development committee and other fundraising meetings. Review the current fundraising plan and examine the financial goals; review these against reports of fundraising activities and results, donor attrition, and prospective donor lists. Review the case for support and make – or recommend – adjustments as necessary. Gain an understanding of the resources you will need to do the job; compare these with the resources you believe will be available to you. If you don’t have the resources you need to do your job, let your supervisor know immediately.

Be a star. Arrive early for all meetings. Ask questions. Report your progress, whether it is asked for or not. Document your work, especially in the area of prospect identification, cultivation, communications, and solicitations.

You will be entering an environment where all eyes will be on you as people evaluate your potential. Demonstrate your professionalism with your actions. Here’s to your new position.

Copyright 2020 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

Let us help you energize your fund development program. Call us at (901) 522-8727.

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