The tough challenge for all volunteer nonprofits is finding people to do the work that isn’t so much fun to most people, jobs like fundraising, membership, financial management, communications, human resource management, IT support — you get it.
I wanted to share this guest post from Carol Golden, senior philanthropy advisor at the Rhode Island Foundation. Carol joined the Rhode Island Foundation as its first development professional in 1991. Under Carol’s leadership during the past two decades, the Foundation has raised more than $425 million.
Through my work as a fundraiser and philanthropic advisor, I’ve been fascinated with the surprising amount of turnover in the development field. Have you noticed how frequently development professionals change from one organization to another? I have, and it concerns me.
The donors I’ve worked with throughout my career support a myriad of nonprofits that provide important services and resources to our communities. They are committed to helping these community organizations be successful and effective. All of these nonprofits need fuel for their work, and fundraising, along with fee for services, is an essential piece.
Individual donors, particularly at the major donor level, are one of the most important elements of a nonprofit’s success (along with effective and passionate leadership and top quality programs.) And, nothing connects an individual donor more strongly than respectful and consistent donor stewardship by key development staff. Note the word consistent. Read more
I was asked to facilitate a roundtable discussion at 2014 Fundraising Day in Southern New England. Thought I’d pass along the tips I gathered and shared.
1. Know yourself
- What are your passions?
- What are you really good at?
- What makes you happy?
- What are you fears/demons?
2. Be really good at your job
- Embrace results
- Embrace metrics
- Learn about your cause
- Engage in your whole organization
3. Learn all you can about your profession
- Workshops, conference, webinars, college classes
- Professional journals e.g. Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Quarterly
- Know the research Read more
If we are going to be effective in this world, not just in raising money, but in serving our missions, we have to be smart, informed, adaptive, resilient and energetic about the work that we are doing. When Maggie Kuhn found herself living alone in her big house, she invited younger women to come be her roommates. We need to too.
Because our nonprofits need everyone’s energy and knowledge, young and old, shared across the generations, to make our missions happen.
“Just because you work for a small nonprofit doesn’t mean you have to raise small dollars.” So many fundraising books focus on organizations with big budgets, leaving smaller nonprofits to figure out how to make those formulas work for them. In The Essential Fundraising Handbook for Small Nonprofits, you’ll learn from eight skilled fundraisers who have right-sized the best of fundraising for the small shop.
A key challenge of most nonprofit organizations in raising funding is that they simply don’t have enough staff working on fundraising
Each of us has many options to serve. For example, we might to choose to serve by: Serving meals each week at the community meal site. Wading in the muck to pull old tires out of the river. Bearing silent witness in a vigil line. Helping a neighbor in need.
Caring for a family member. Stepping into danger to prevent a greater harm. Giving blood.
And even serving on an organizational board.
It seems everyone is stressed out about elevator pitches. Why?
It think it is because most board members are worried about flubbing the introduction to their organization. And because everyone keeps telling them they need an elevator speech.
So here are three bits of advice you might find helpful:
But multiple speakers stressed the need for our sector to take back both qualitative evaluation as a legitimate form of measurement and to champion the other critical impacts we have in community, such as improving the social fabric, personal fulfillment and quality of life.