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Revealing the Fundraising Struggle

posted Feb 23, 2013, 10:46 AM by Rebecca Baumann
Have you ever felt overwhelmed and struggling in your fundraising efforts and sensed that the problem might be larger than your own capacity to generate major donors?  Well, you are not alone nor are your insights incorrect.  

CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund recently published Underdevelopment: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising. In a survey of over 2,700 executive and development directors across the county, they sampled large and small organizations with a variety of services  concluding, “Yes, there are considerable problems in the development director role across the sector, but there are also deeper challenges that undermine the ability of nonprofits to raise the money they need to succeed.”

The survey found high turnover and long vacancies in development director positions, and they found that the supply of qualified development directors is smaller than the demand.  They also discovered that many nonprofits have no development plan and no fundraising database.  They highlighted the fact fundraising is about more than one person, something each of us in the field clearly understands.

Consider these questions about whether your organization is up to the task of fundraising:
Do you invest in fundraising capacity, the technologies and fund development systems needed for the task?
Are the staff, executive director, and the board deeply engaged as fundraising ambassadors and solicitors?
Is fund development and philanthropy understood and valued across the organization?
Is the development director viewed as a key leader and partner in the organization?

Ideally, you should be able to answer yes to all of these questions.  Consult the full article for more details and suggestions to improve your fundraising capacity.  

Suggestions to improve your organizational capacity include the following: 
  1.     create a fundraising plan that clearly embraces and values fund development and philanthropy;
  2.     elevate the field of fundraising helping to eliminate its bad reputation;
  3.     strengthen and diversify the talent pool;
  4.     train the board in a new and effective ways;
  5.     leverage technological innovation and embrace creativity;
  6.     set realistic goals;
  7.     share accountability and fundraising results; and 
  8.     exercise fundraising leadership.  
This well-researched information can be helpful to all of us as we trudge up the fundraising mountain tirelessly seeking our peak performance goals.