Why Staff Members Shouldn’t Be Fundraisers

Sections of this topic

    Note, I used the term “fundraisers” in the title, not Development Officers. It is an important distinction. Maybe, also, the title should be “Why Fundraisers Shouldn’t Be Staff Members.”

    Development officers plan/design and evaluate development programs. They work with board members and volunteers to identify potential donors. They work to develop plans for the cultivation of those potential donors, and for the stewardship of those folks once they become donors.

    Development officers work to design and implement structures that result in the creation and maintenance of relationships with (potential) donors.

    The more skilled and experienced a Development Officer becomes, the more time he/she must devote to planning, evaluating and overseeing the performance of an organization’s development efforts.

    Where one development officer, in addition to his/her planning/evaluating/etc. efforts, would only be able to cultivate-and-solicit a small number of (potential) donors, that same person could train-and-supervise a number of volunteers who could each cultivate-and-solicit a comparable number of (potential) donors – thus multiplying a development officer’s effectiveness.

    Yes, I’m aware that there is a trend, in a segment of the nonprofit community, to hire “fundraisers,” not development officers. But, while those “staff fundraisers” might generate significant income, at some point they will move on.

    “So what?” you say !!

    Well, in order for those “staff fundraisers” to bring in the big bucks, they will have to create/nurture their own relationships with donors; then, when they leave to go to their next position at a higher salary, they take those relationships/donors with them – relationships that were not with the nonprofit organization.

    Next week’s posting will address the roles of the various development officers and their relationship to the development and fundraising processes.

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