According to a 2013 study by Campbell & Company, more than half of all Chief Development Officers polled served less than two years in their most recent position. I think it is important to ask why this is happening in our ministries, and try to figure out what we can do to stop this trend. Let’s take a look at four ways we can help our fundraisers stick around.
- Understand Development as a Ministry Leader
First, the study reveals a consistent lack of understanding for development among ministry leaders. John Maxwell says that “Everything rises or falls on leadership.” He is right! If we are going to develop ministries that retain crucial development positions, then the Executive Director of the organization must also be a fundraiser. As the leader of the orgainzation, an Executive Director will find themselves involved in ministry, operations, and human resources. So, the question has to be asked, why wouldn’t development be on that list?
Executive Directors must set the example for the Development Directors and the rest of their teams by believing fundraising is an important example of Biblical Stewardship for their ministriy. When Executive Directors believe in this aspect of service, they have the power to set a tone of energy and focus, anchoring the ministry with the power it needs to keep going when things get hard. Invest in your Development Department. Go on calls with your directors at least once a month. And don’t lose touch with what he/she is doing.
- Hire the Right Fundraiser
The second concern the study raises is that we often don’t hire the right person for the job. Especially with smaller non-profits, it can be difficult to hire a highly qualified development person based solely on limited dollars you have in the budget for the position. However, this shouldn’t mean that you lower your standards for the position.
For a job of such importance you have to remain committed to hiring the right person. Consider these three questions:
- Does this person have a true passion for your mission?
- Does this person have a true desire to serve and minister to people?
- Does this person understand the Biblical foundation of fundraising?
If the person you find can satisfy these three things, that person has the foundation they need to be a leader that can drive the movement of your ministry. Spend serious time considering the heart and desire of the person who will ultimately play a crucial role in your minisitry reaching it’s goals and dreams for the future.
- Have Realistic Expectations
The third thing to acknowledge from the results of this study is that there are often unrealistic expectations placed on our Development Directors. If we inadvertently turn into a group that only cares about output, we are going to frustrate and burn out the people we rely on to deliver the output. We cannot let ourselves get short-sighted in this area. Remember, most people want to learn and grow in the work they do. So give them ample opportunity to grow and accomplish something great.
- Help Your Team Succeed
Lastly, don’t wait to put your people in a spot to succeed. Let them hit the ground running. As simple as it may seem, the key to a long lasting Development Officer is giving them a feeling of success. Experiencing success will create a desire for more success, and just as important, the belief that more is possible.
Remember—stewarship, managing God’s money and resources, is God’s idea. Everything your ministry has, belongs to Him. Fundraising is an awesome way to acknowledge this is true and help other people experience the fulfillment of surrendering to God’s way.
An element of fundraising will always be hard because that is the way it is with Spriritual Business. Satan doesn’t want you to succeed; there’s too much on the line. He would rather your efforts fail and your people burn out. He would like to see your vision and dreams left un-funded; your outreach, small and uninspired. Don’t let him win, include God and submit to His way.
Don’t quit trying to get this right. Bottom-Line: The better we get at fundraising, developing fund-raisers, and keeping them for the long haul—the more funds we will bring in. And more funds means more impact, and more impact means more lives changed!
Want help hiring the right person to lead your ministry’s fundraising? We can help! Request your free consultation to discuss Right CoachSM >>