Tag Archives: raise more money in 2017

Would Additional Fundraising Staff Support Help Raise More Money This Year?

Lately, I have heard about multiple nonprofit organizations who don’t have enough fundraising staff support. This can play out in a lot of ways:

  • inconsistent response times
  • lack of donor stewardship
  • fewer offerings
  • using volunteers to cover needs
  • late mailings
  • angered constituents
  • skipped events
  • and/or lost opportunities

Surprisingly, the reason for the lack of staffing is not always money.  It can stem from something as simple as not knowing what staff you need to handle the workflow of the agency in its current configuration (this is often the case after a reorganization). Other times nonprofits don’t have enough fundraising staff support when someone leaves and replacing him/her feels like plugging a leaky bucket that keeps springing new holes.  No one had any idea what the person actually did every day, anyway.

Of course, lack of staffing almost always results in less money raised.  Every late mailing or stewardship meeting that didn’t happen will reduce support now and into the future.

If you have read this far, you are probably don’t have enough fundraising staff support and wondering what to do about it. Here are a few options:

  1. Engage Mersky, Jaffe & Associates to conduct an Organizational and Development Assessment. This service can help you define your strengths and needs as well as save you money over time by fully utilizing your staff and their skills.  This is also very helpful when presenting your need to increase staff to the board.
  2. Perform the following exercise:
    1. ask each person in the administrative office to write down what they could achieve if they could magically add 20 additional hours per week.
    2. ask each person in the administrative office to write down 3-5 items they wish someone else could take on so that they could achieve more in the “core” areas of their job.
    3. Ask the supervisor to list all areas that are under-performing due to staffing constraints
    4. Consider the costs of one new part-time person and one full-time person. Generalize – don’t waste too much time on this part of the exercise.
    5. Compare what you could achieve with these additional costs – what is it worth to you?

Raising more money this year will require additional support from staff.  If you are not willing to chart a new path to success, don’t complain when results do not.

Read the overview from this series by clicking here

Read Chapter 1: Solicitation, Acknowledgement, and Stewardship Systems

Read Chapter 2: A Stronger Fundraising and Development Committee

A Stronger Fundraising and Development Committee

Chapter 2: What would help your nonprofit raise more money this year? A stronger fundraising and development committee.

The results of my survey are in, and the schedule is set for a year of articles focused on what would help your nonprofit raise more money in 2017.  This month, I will focus on how to build a stronger fundraising and development committee.

You may remember a series I wrote a couple of years ago on my experience as the chair of a development committee (and if not you can read it by clicking here). I didn’t speak to the challenges of strengthening the committee, but looking back, I should I have.  I was like other development volunteers that lead a committee, I sometimes found it easier to do it myself and then was surprised when people didn’t feel like it was a “real” committee. What would I have done differently? What can you do?

  1. When encouraging fellow board members to join the fundraising and development committee clearly explain that asking others for a donation is part of the committee, but helping do the work to get to that point is equally important if it allows the solicitor to do more asks.Working with volunteers has its challenges and time constraints–jobs, family life, hobbies, and other board commitments all compete.  You can divide the work of prospect research, prioritizing prospects for the year, collecting relevant information on each prospect, the solicitation, and stewardship.  The solicitor will still have to make the calls, find a time and place, have the meeting and make the ask, but that is just one piece of the development committee’s work.
  2. Follow through by asking each member of the fundraising and development committee to participate on a regular basis. If you stop asking for help, each member will spend their time elsewhere and be too busy by the time you get around to calling them.At the next meeting ask everyone to list what they have done for the committee in the past (if anything), what they hope to work on, and what they would like to avoid. Then, strategize to use each person effectively.  If one person doesn’t like to come to meetings but will do research from home, he/she can still be valuable to the committee.
  3. Hold regular meetings. It will ensure that everyone knows they are still on the committee, that they have a responsibility to do their work by a deadline, and that the chair is not taking the work on by themselves.
  4. Have clearly defined goals that are achievable. That means choosing whether you are going to focus on new donors, donor retention, increased giving from current donors, events, etc… Don’t try to do it all so that you won’t lose focus and fail at most of it.
  5. Stay optimistic. Donors and committee members both respond to optimism.  If you don’t feel it, fake it until you make it.

The good thing about committees is that every year is a new opportunity to be stronger and better.  Make 2017 the start that you were looking for.

Read Chapter 1: How do you improve your solicitation, acknowledgement, and stewardship systems?

Read how this series started by clicking here

Read Chapter 3: Additional Staff Support