By Kelly Medinger
A national study of challenges facing nonprofit fundraising
Last year, we invited you to participate in a national research survey exploring the role of executive directors and development directors in nonprofit organizations. The result of this survey is the report, UnderDeveloped, a joint project of CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.
Why We’re Interested
Given the Knott Foundation's support in the area of fund development -- we have helped organizations with fundraising salaries, activities, and infrastructure needs -- we had a particular interest in the findings of this report when it was released earlier this year.
What the Report Says
The report addresses the widespread concern in the nonprofit sector about premature turnover of development directors, lengthy vacancies in the role, and the seemingly thin pool of qualified candidates to choose from.
Ultimately, the authors suggest that classifying the issue as a "talent pool" problem alone is misguided. Instead, they assert that we also need to focus on "entrenched organizational factors that contribute to the inability to establish development as a shared function and nurture organizational culture to sustain it."
What We Can Do To Help
The resulting "call to action" is multifaceted.
- Embrace fund development through a mental model shift ("we heard plenty of complaints about fundraising, but very little enthusiasm")
- Elevate the field of fundraising (asking for money should not be taboo)
- Strengthen and diversify the talent pool
- Train board differently
- Apply the transition management framework to the development director position
- Invest strategically in grantee fundraising capacity
- Leverage technological innovation
- Set realistic goals for development
- Share accountability for fundraising results
- Exercise fundraising leadership (development directors should create a fundraising plan, educate staff and board members about what a culture of philanthropy entails, and take responsibility for their own professional development)
Click here to read the full report.