Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Changes in Giving and Volunteering, Part II

Mrs. Goodale is a veteran-pro fundraiser, having cut her teeth as an alumna of Smith College raising funds for alma mater. One thing led to another, interest led to progress; and more than three decades later Mrs. Goodale is one of the pre-eminent advisers in her field. In these columns which should run about twice a month, she shares the knowledge that experience has provided.

Toni Goodale's Consultant's Corner
Changes in Giving and Volunteering, Part II

Furthermore, like other professional fields, fund raising is being altered by computerization and the evolution of the Internet. The extent of the potential of technology in the realms of personal computing, database management, and communications is still unknown. Nevertheless, most good development offices are computerized with fund-raising software to track donors, generate reports, sort data and so on. In terms of the Internet, there is an increasing use of web sites as an information and fund-raising medium. As some of you may know, many non-profits already have fantastic web sites and, for example, with a click of the mouse, you can have access to the collections of famous museums around the world. Will we increasingly use the Internet for fund raising instead of using direct mail or telemarketing? Will the Internet allow for fewer meetings through video conferencing? Will computer usage personalize or depersonalize fund raising? These are all questions we need to ask as we go along.

Changes in Fund Raising that Affect Staff and Volunteers

Concomitant with changes in the fund-raising process are changes that are affecting development staff and volunteers. Increasingly, development staff are being called upon to do solicitations. Because of the huge goals and the enormous number of prospects that have to be seen, many campaigns lack enough good volunteer solicitors. Consequently, development staff are finding that they are now asking for many of the orders. At some big universities, development staff members are soliciting gifts of up to $1 million. This means that training staff in soliciting skills is taking on greater importance.

At the same time, ironically, even more staff time is needed for managing campaigns, tracking donors, performing research, etc. Thus, Directors of Development often have to act both as solicitors and managers who operate their organizations like businesses with sales forces – not an easy job.

In addition, many campaigns are now creating the position of Campaign Director. More development offices are seeking campaign specialists who can run campaigns. In the past, consulting firms took over the entire internal management of campaigns of non-profits and provided what they called Resident Counsel. This may have been necessary when the development field was very small and non-profits were very uneducated about campaigns, but it is less necessary now with so many people in the field with experience in campaigns and with so many trustees who have experienced campaigns in other organizations. Consultants can now fulfill the role implied by their titles, focusing on being advisers, organizers and motivators.

The good news is that development staff are being taken more seriously and staff salaries are improving. Because fund raising has become such a significant component of a non-profit’s activities, good staffing is essential. Today, a development person can aspire to a senior development position with a good six-figure salary. This is a positive change that will hopefully improve the quality of development staff. In addition, since fund raising is so important for non-profits, development staff are now being considered for Executive Director and even University college positions.

With regard to trustees, Board Chairmen and other Board members are increasingly having to give and get contributions. Top administrators such as University Presidents, Heads of Schools, and Executive Directors of non-profits are also finding that fund raising is a major component of their job descriptions.

Click here for Part I.

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