Why consistency matters in fundraising
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.
Donor cultivation and stewardship is first and foremost based on trusting relationships nurtured over time between the donor and the development officer. It logically follows, therefore, that frequent turnover in fundraising staff can be disruptive and therefore damaging to an overall development effort.
Yes, donors primarily give because they share a passion for your organization’s mission. Still, don’t overlook the significance of meaningful connections with the people that represent your organization. Hire development professionals that demonstrate the highest levels of warmth, communication skill and donor-centricity; treat your new hire well; and let these important relationships flourish. Your organization is likely to see continuing success as a result.