Wednesday, May 16

The biggest threat

What is the biggest threat to your favorite charity meeting its fundraising goals?

Bad publicity? A recession? Terrorism?

No. The biggest risk facing most fundraising departments is staff turnover. I'm not talking about the chaos caused by one disgruntled employee that ripples through the development development, crushing morale and leading to a mass exodus - although I've seen it happen.

I guess this happens in all offices in all industries. But, it seems to happen more for nonprofit fundraising departments. Staff leave for many reasons; they are underpaid, their skills are in demand, they tend to be younger and may be climbing up their career ladder, or they may decide that it is faster to get a new job rather than wait for internal promotions.

The Washington Post recently ran a profile of the career path for modern day "versatile, passionate fundraisers."

Fundraisers say their biggest problem is insufficient staffing, cited by one-fourth of the 1,072 fundraising members in the 2006 salary survey. Other big issues are juggling other assignments besides development and a lack of appreciation for what fundraisers do.
Regardless of the reason, if a fundraiser quits in the middle of the year - it can jeopardize not only that year's fundraising targets, but it can retard the organization's hope for financial growth for several years to come.

Fundraising directors who face this transition can often only hope to maintain the status quo... what is lost is the opportunity for progress as institutional knowledge walks out the door. The real loss is in what could have been... that exponential growth that goes unrealized.

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