The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently ran an article on fundraiser turnover by Holly Hall. It seems surveys are underway to shed light on the issue of fundraiser recruitment and retention. Executive directors and board members often have expectations about a fundraiser’s ability to raise funds that are not met, so fundraisers may come and go rather quickly.
I commented that fundraisers and development directors are hired by a board or executive director at great effort, considerable expense, and to much applause when the new hire arrives. At that point many boards or executive directors declare “mission accomplished,” and the poor fundraiser is set off on their own to raise funds.
Fundraising is best accomplished through teamwork, involving board members, the executive director, and other staff. The failure of board members and executive directors to work as team members in fundraising contributes to some of the disappointment over fundraising success and turnover of fundraisers.
That generated a fair amount of responsive comment. One fundraiser commented about boards and executive directors, “[i]f one person, singlehandedly had the ability to raise all the money most organizations expect – why would we need to work for them?
Another fundraiser wondered how to get the article and resulting comments about teamwork in fundraising into the hands of his or her executive director.
Hiring a fundraiser is not the solution to fundraising for a board or executive director. Working as a team with the new fundraiser is.