There's a new study out which I'm sure will create a lot of conversation within the sector. It shows that charities are having a hard time finding qualified development directors and that vacancies for fundraising positions are averaging six months and often longer. Smaller organizations are having an especially difficult time, which is further compounded by many development directors indicating they are planning to leave their current jobs within two years.
There's definitely more work AFP and others need to do in terms of reaching out to and training fundraisers, especially those working with smaller organizations. That's one of the reasons we created our Small Organizational memberships.
But I think Robbe Healey gets it just right when she says, “If we embrace fundraising for the long-term, then no matter how small our organization or our budget, we can find success.” (emphasis added)
Look through our awards winners over the years. The organizations we’ve honored, no matter how big or small, have created cultures of philanthropy, where staff and the board are all involved in fundraising and have made long-term investments in philanthropy. Our outstanding fundraising professionals, whether chapter or international honorees, have all succeeded in environments where they’ve either created or strengthened existing cultures of philanthropy.
Even the respondents in the survey underscored this: when fundraising infrastructure was strong and the organization embraced fundraising as a long-term program, their results were higher.
Fundraising success isn’t a question of have’s and have-not’s. Sure, larger organizations may raise more money, but that’s because they have more staff, resources, etc. But smaller organizations can be just as successful with the resources they have.
Fundraising success is a question of belief. Believe in fundraising, embrace it and invest in it long-term and you are bound to find success. Ignore it, or pay it lip service, and you’ll likely find a revolving door at your development director position.