Are You Having Fun Yet?

Fundraisers are some of the most inspirational people to be around – their enthusiasm is contagious!

Masters of building strong relationships, fundraisers tap into the passions of donors and create meaningful opportunities that move them to support worthy causes.

Yes, you do well working with others outside of your organization. But how do other departments, within your organization, feel about the development department?

I’ve been around long enough to know about inter-departmental tensions.

Tensions between finance and development; the balance between compliance and seizing opportunities.

Tensions between program delivery and development; the balance between client confidentiality and sharing inspirational stories that show how people’s lives are changed.

Our attempts to build solid fund development strategies can create divisive chasms between departments if we push our agendas through with a You-Wouldn’t-Have-A-Program-To-Deliver-Without-Funds-To-Support-It-So-Get-With-The-Program mentality.

This is problematic because your staff and board are your closest stakeholders. They are your inner circle. If you can’t convince your closest stakeholders on the importance of engaging and soliciting support from your community, your influence and impact with your external stakeholders will suffer for it.

How to put the FUN Back into Fund development

imagesSo how do you get staff on board?

How do you build a foundation on which to create an organizational culture of philanthropy that inspires participation internally?

I think the answer lies in the fundamental point mentioned above.

You are masters in building strong relationships.

Following are some suggestions to promote mutual understanding and strengthen working relationships between departments in your organization.

Sit down with each department leader and: 

  • find out what they’re passionate about.
  • ask them what is important to them in order to do their job well.
  • learn how their role fits into the bigger picture. 
  • explore how you can help them to succeed in their role.

Then explain your role to them. Share how support is raised by connecting the passions of donors with the mission of your organization – how it’s about meeting the needs of your clients with the resources supplied by those who care about your clients.

Then tell them your door is always open:

  • to discuss, address and solve tensions as they come up.
  • to develop ways to work together that are mutually beneficial and encouraging.
  • to hear their ideas and joyfully conspire with them.
  • to provide support and materials needed for them to share their new-found enthusiasm with others.

You build strong relationships. That’s what you do and you’re good at it. So why not create a safe environment where creativity and participation are enthusiastically pursued and a commitment to support each other is valued.

What are you doing to create a vibrant culture of philanthropy in your organization?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.


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