Fri, January 18 2013

Before you take that fundraising job - or hire that fundraiser - read this

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Pursuant to yesterday’s post about the dire state of the fundraising field, I want to offer some tips that I posted on LinkedIn yesterday..

Before you take a job in nonprofit fundraising (and there are lots of vacant jobs out there!) or hire a fundraiser, do the following.

1. Confirm the nonprofit organization warmly embraces the need to fundraise. For an organization to succeed in fundraising, it has to view asking for money as a beautiful partnership between people who work to make the world a better place - and those who join in helping them.

2. Ensure the organization sees fundraising as everyone’s job - as reflected in the way the leadership, board and staff collaboratively support and coordinate with the development director. Together, they set and hold themselves collectively accountable for goals.

3. Make sure the fundraiser is well trained - or can get trained. A huge problem is that many fundraisers aren’t qualified for the job. One in four executive directors (24%) in the CompassPoint report said their development directors have no experience or are novice at “current and prospective donor research.” Among the smallest nonprofits, the number was 32%. If you’re a fundraiser, get well trained. And if you’re a nonprofit, hire qualified people or invest in turning your fundraisers into qualified people by paying for them to get the help they need to do their job.

One last, critical thought: All nonprofits and fundraisers must invest in treating donors like partners, thanking them regularly and conscientiously reporting on the impact they had. That’s the way to fix the grim donor attrition problem we have.

We have a lot of work to do in our field. We’d better start now - the good of the world is truly at stake.

  • Comment: (6)   


Wow, those numbers of One in four executive directors are not well trained.  Yikes, thats not a good way to start.

Especially in a already struggling organizations.  But training for anything is a must.  Lack of training is just asking for disaster for any organization.

Thanks for sharing,


Posted by Eric  on  01/19  at  03:01 PM

I am said “untrained” fundraiser.  Is there any particular training experience you would recommend for someone like me?  Should I simply start by taking a few courses at my local community college?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/19  at  07:09 PM

Sara - I’d go straight to the Association of Fundraising Professionals chapter i your area and be sure to check out Network for Good’s trainings and libraries at fundraising123.

Posted by Katya Andresen  on  01/20  at  11:17 AM

Great post - and some really valid points.  Training and support is essential, along with the recognition that fundraising is about building relationships and that might not happen overnight (ie give your development director time to become successful).  Re: point 1, I see so many non-profits want to hire a fundraiser because they need more money without any real commitment to relationship building, training - or their donors.  I often steer non-profits away from hiring a fundraiser because they’re either not able or willing to support the role.  Thanks for your post.

Posted by Heather  on  01/21  at  03:15 PM

Wow!  This couldn’t be more relavant!  I am very involved as a volunteer with an organization that I am incredibly passionate about.  My main function is fundraising.  The group from the ED to the board to the staff to the other volunteers all say they want, believe in and support fundraising, but when it comes time to actually DO IT, I am the loan voice, with no one behind me.  They seem to be more afraid of scaring people away, than with building relationships, communicating and teaching our supporters why we fundraise, and why it’s important to be a donor.  I am trying not to give up, but my enthusiasm is waning ....

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/23  at  11:54 AM

Know what so many Development Directors aren’t trained?  Because nonprofits insist on hiring media personalities or the parent who did all the auctions at the biggest local private school or the hottest sales person in town or anything other than a skilled, professional, hard-working development professional.  Boards and CEOs seem to think that some rainmaker is going to come into their organization to fix the fundraising problem, and without them having to be part of that process.  I’ve seen it again and again.  And, people wonder why development professionals burn out…

Thanks for this thoughtful blog post.  You are so right.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/29  at  10:52 AM

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