Does Your Organization Have a REAL Director of Development?

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    Ideally, from day one, an organization should have someone who knows/understands the NPO, its mission, its leadership and its hopes and aspirations. This person should have the experience and skills to help the NPO plan for next week and next year.

    This person should have input at all levels, should be able to guide/train the board members and the CEO, and should be able to bring to staff an awareness and understanding of how they affect the development process.

    A large organization, with a large development staff, must have someone to coordinate the various programs and be sure that they support, not conflict with or duplicate each other. Sadly, the vast majority of new/nascent NPOs don’t have the money to hire a person with the requisite experience and capabilities.

    Smaller organizations that live on grants, need a grants officer. If much of a NPO’s income is from events, then an event coordinator is needed. If one person can do both, all the better.

    To hire a staff person to focus on one or two activities, and give that person the title of Director of Development, is to lie to that person, to that person’s next employer and to the board and staff of the NPO doing the hiring.

    You’re kidding yourself if you think that by hiring a person and giving them that title that you’re actually getting all the experience/expertise that comes with a real director of development.

    The director of development is a critical hire for an organization. The right person can greatly help ensure an organization’s future….

    So many non-profit organizations are hiring Directors of Development without really knowing/understanding what “development” is supposed to be about and how a DOD is supposed to function.

    The misunderstanding is the belief that “Director of Development” equates to “income generator.” So many NPOs hire DODs with the belief that they’re getting someone who will raise the needed funds; and, the sad thing is that so many NPOs hire DODs so that organizational leadership (board and other senior staff) won’t have to be involved in (or even think about) fundraising.

    Hire a person to raise the money, and the amount of money that can be raised is limited by the time/effort that one person is willing/able to give to the process.

    Hire a person to create and/or direct a development program and there’s no theoretical limit to how much money can be raised … considering the person’s level of experience and expertise.

    A Director of Development creates and/or plans-for-and-directs a development program … an effort that incorporates many (if not all) of the elements of the development process: mass solicitation (mail or telephone), grants (government, foundation and corporate), events, major gifts, bequests, donor cultivation, etc….

    How many organizations do you know of that have a Director of Development who isn’t !!??

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