If you’ve been in the nonprofit world for a while you’ve seen it. People who are frazzled, overworked, frustrated and slowly getting burned out (if they’re not there already). It can happen so easily – we’re passionate about the work we do. On the fundraising side of things the pressure intensifies. Not only is the continued work of the organization on your shoulders, so are the paychecks of your co-workers!
Does it feel like it’s just you carrying the weight for fundraising in your organization? Feeling a little overwhelmed? Frustrated with those around you? Wondering if you’re in the right place for you?
Here’s a little tip. You don’t need to – and shouldn’t – try to carry this burden alone. There are people around who can – and should – help. This includes the board, executive directors, volunteers, and yes, even staff members in other departments.
But now for the hard part. If your organization isn’t already structured in that way, the frustration can intensify even further. Here’s another tip: if you’re going to change the culture of your organization, you’re going to have to commit to educating others about why it needs to change. It doesn’t work to tell them it has to – they have to come to that conclusion themselves.
Regardless of where you’re at now, here are some key team member positions you can start with:
- a board member to serve as the liaison with the board regarding fundraising issues (messages from a peer will be much more impactful than if the same message comes from a staff member – plus they’ll be able to help gauge how quickly to move forward)
- if you’re a one-person shop and data entry for gifts is included in your job description, try to identify a volunteer who can help with that role. It’s very difficult to move from being relationship-focused to detail-focused, so this will help you stay focused on relationship – and income generating – activities.
- a close friend who will let you vent occasionally. Yes, you might want to complain once in a while, and you need someone ‘safe’ to do that with. Just be sure to have a time limit (maybe 5-10 minutes) and then let it go. Tomorrow will be a new day.
- a volunteer (or 3) who will eventually be able to grow into a position of coaching and supporting 5-7 other volunteers. This is a capital campaign approach that can be used effectively in an annual campaign.By adding in a ‘middle manager’ you can grow your team – and the organization’s ability to grow relationships with additional prospects and donors.
- someone with strong writing skills to write one story a month. After just one year, you’ll have a library of 12 stories to pull from when you’re visiting with prospects. Plus, having someone in that role will help hold you accountable to providing story opportunities to them.
I could go on, but this is a good start. Raising money can be overwhelming work. Having others around can make it easier – and more fun.
What are your thoughts?