When Your Development Director Fails at Fundraising

Development_Director_NonprofitEveryone in the nonprofit world understands how challenging it can be to raise money.  Developing brand awareness and donor relationships doesn’t happen overnight. Turnover in the development area of nonprofits is very typical and the market is tight right now. When your development director leaves or does not meet expectations, how do you find the  “right fit” for their replacement? Here are five questions to ask yourself about your organization before hiring another development director.

How Involved is your Board with Fundraising?

Hiring a development director should not sit solely on the shoulders of the executive director. To make sure your board will participate in the procurement of the development director and view them as a person that enhances THEIR OWN fundraising, your board NEEDS to come up with a strategy to support your new fundraiser. This support includes the board creating a strategy with them that will expand their current connections and introduce them to new connections. A development director is more likely to succeed if they are not left alone on a proverbial island singlehandedly trying to keep the organization’s fundraising efforts afloat.

Is your Fundraiser’s Job Clear?

Don’t set your development director up to fail. Create a job description with realistic goals and expectations. Ensure your nonprofit’s policies and procedures are in place and work FOR your fundraiser. Ensure the donor database is updated and you have a plan for the next year. If not a full year, have at least an idea of the direction your organization is headed and how your development director can get you there. Make sure your fundraising goals are based on real numbers.  Don’t expect that your new fundraiser will double or triple your numbers from the prior year. A 2013 survey from CompassPoint showed it could take almost 18 months for a new development director to truly hit their stride.

How “Flexible” is your Nonprofit

In this tight job market, competitive salary and benefits will not be the only thing to attract a new development director to your nonprofit.  Flexibility plays a huge role. Do you really want your development director at a desk in the office all day? Your fundraiser should be out in the community building relationships. Your fundraiser should be given the opportunity to work from home so long as there is accountability toward goals that were agreed upon.

Can you Pay for Fundraising Training?

Most development directors are going to request a continuing education budget.  It would seem appropriate to help your team hit the ground running.  Offering training opportunities will allow your fundraiser to network with their peers and discover tips and tricks about how other nonprofits fundraise successfully.

Do You Have a Hiring Committee for your Fundraising Position?

Fundraisers are GREAT at selling themselves. That’s what makes them great fundraisers.  That being said, you don’t want a salesperson who can “fake” their way through a conversation, but rather an individual invested in your organization’s mission. Involve your top board members in a hiring committee that can help you find the right person for this important role. You want other “eyes” on the resume and board participation in the interview process. Fundraisers can tell great stories, but does your candidate’s personal statistics add up to the successes they claim?

Numbers 4 Nonprofits works closely with our clients to make sure they can fulfill their mission. We work with executive directors and development directors to quantify that their fundraising efforts are adding up and they remain on the right path for their organization’s success.

Contact us today and tell us your story!

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