2021 has got to be better than 2020. And, in an effort to help you plan for the better year that lies ahead, we offer suggestions for how to build a strong fundraising team in 2021.
Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, most of us are judged by the company we keep. And so it is with fundraising.
Your organization’s fundraising can be judged by the team you build. Your team includes your staff, but most importantly it includes the leadership level volunteers who you recruit to assist with specific activities that impact fundraising. You will be judged by who you bring on board, how well they are managed, and their productivity in the areas of relationship building, marketing, and fundraising.
Let’s use a football metaphor. In football there is the general manager who is responsible for recruiting the coach and key players for the team. The general manager can’t be the coach and run the plays. He or she must build a team – “the company you keep.”
The same is true for a CEO, executive director, and even a board chair. You need to find and secure the right talent that fits with the culture of your organization, so you have a better chance of “winning” – or as we say in fundraising, “meeting goal.”
Your responsibility is to bring the right people to the table. And, now is the time to start looking. As one year ends and another begins you can build your foundation for 2021. Here are a few things to reflect on.
What were the challenges you faced in 2020? Are there people who can help you address those challenges? Put them on your “recruitment” list. What skill sets are missing from your team? What types of relationships do you need to build? List these, and think about who can help you attract people with the skills and relationships you need. Talk to those you know. Let your board members, select donors, stakeholders, and volunteers know that you are looking to build your fundraising team in 2021 and that you are looking for recommendations. Share your assessment of your needs.
Look for people with similar interests, compassion, and commitment. Also look for those who view the world differently than you do, or who run in different circles – they can help you see what you don’t see, and help you expand your circle of connections.
Always look for people who have had experience with a campaign or fundraising program that was successful. Look for folk with creativity and management skills. Seek out those with talent in marketing, communications, writing, and research. And, since you’re building a team, look for people with a history as a team player!
As a nonprofit leader you will be judged by the people you bring together, and they will influence how much you can raise, or not raise. The lifeblood of your organization is people: take time to reflect on who can best help your nonprofit and invite them to join your team.
[Copyright 2020 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Let us help you find your way through this unknown time. Video and phone conferencing services always available. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com. ]