The Job Score
As a fundraiser, are you actually fundraising? Or are you spending more time handling other tasks? Here’s the score on making room to do your job.
The road to fundraising success is paved with good intentions. Setting goals is great, but actually meeting your targets for the year is hard when other tasks keep getting in the way.
Ask yourself: are the tasks you’re doing relevant to the fundraising goals you set?
Take the Quiz!
Read the questions and pick the answer that best describes your situation. The number of the question is the number of points your answer is worth. Tally your points and find out what your score says about your fundraising tasks management.
Staff on task
Question: How many paid staff do you have working on fundraising?
- A whole department.
- A handful.
- Two of us.
- Just me…
Staff off task
Question: How many of your staff also handle other tasks like communications, research or data input?
- We have staff just for development.
- There are definite assignments.
- We generally share the responsibilities.
- Boundaries? What boundaries?
Question: What CRM or system do you use to manage your donor data?
- Using our integrated CRM to the max!
- We have a CRM but it’s clunky and hard to use.
- Rolodex or spreadsheet.
- I keep it all here in my handy-dandy notebook.
Question: What is the relationship between the development, communications and executive teams?
- We’re an integrated team and we meet regularly to check in about benchmarks.
- Executive team gives the orders, everyone else does the tasks.
- Those roles don’t exist, we just do what we need when we need to.
- They’re all me.
Question: Have you made a clear calendar of events and important dates in your fundraising year?
- Our calendar marks all the holidays, events, mailings and milestones
- Our calendar is timed to the MINUTE.
- We will probably do an end-of-year mailing to remind everyone to give…
- What calendar?
Question: Are you planning to do anything new or unusual this year, like a gala or give-a-thon?
- We put together a special team to take the lead on a new initiative
- Nothing new lined up
- Sure, but how would we staff it?
- We want to do EVERYTHING!
How did you score?
Each answer is worth the number of points written next to it. Tally the number of points of the answers you’ve circled, and read on to see what your score says about how you can meet your fundraising goals.
Awesome! You and your teams will have each other as a support system. Keep the inter-departmental communications clear, ask for help when you need it, and don’t be afraid to dream big!
Word of caution: don’t get too bogged down in separating departmental tasks. Many elements really do cross over, especially when it comes to special events, so don’t let yourself work in a vacuum.
Things seem to be moving along, but there may be some key elements that you’re not making the most of. You also have some concerns about staffing – there aren’t always enough hands to manage tasks, and those tend to fall on the fundraiser.
If staffing and time management are big issues, consider using a CRM or database that can automate some of your tasks. For instance, use a CRM that integrates with your online donations: when a donation comes in, make data entry into the database an automatic function that the CRM takes care of, rather than typing things in by hand. This is especially time-saving if you’ve sent out a wide appeal, or if you’re collecting RSVPs and tickets for an event.
You may not have the budget to pay a whole new staff person, or your staff may not have time to manage administrative tasks like data entry. There are some reasonably-priced, effective tools that can handle that for you.
Call in the cavalry! You’re going to need all the help you can get if you’re going to make your fundraising goals this year.
From your score, it seems like you – personally – may be taking on more than is reasonable to expect. You’ve only got 24 hours in the day, after all! If you spend your time trying to take minutes at meetings, input donation data, prepare reports and create email blasts, you’re probably not doing much actual fundraising.
It’s hard to be ruthless when it comes to time management, but you’re going to need to cut the fat off your daily task list. There are things that a fundraiser just shouldn’t have to do, but they often end up doing – which is especially true when the fundraiser is the CEO and the cook and the dishwasher. Take a look at how you can reassign some tasks, or hire seasonal help like a summer intern, or get volunteers to assist in coordinating an event.
How does this apply?
Some tasks in nonprofit fundraising don’t always fit strictly under the heading of “development” – tasks can bleed across departments when it’s a question of organizational hierarchy or staffing concerns. The most crossover happens between the executive leadership, the communications team, and the development officers. More often than not, smaller organizations don’t have the resources to staff each department fully – or even separate them out. So it falls to the administrative staff – whatever their department – to pull that extra weight.
There are two big areas where many nonprofit organizations find that responsibilities and tasks can get out of hand, or fall — sometimes unfairly — onto fundraisers.
This is the most common area where you might “bite off more than you can chew”. Before deciding to do an event, be sure to make an honest assessment about what your goals are and the feasibility of producing an event.
If your gala or dinner will net at least $200,000 or will make up a meaningful percentage of your annual budget, then the event will be worth the time, labor and extra effort. If it won’t raise the funds you need, consider the additional cost in labor – from you and your colleagues – to produce an event that won’t meet your goals.
Consider, also how often you are having “special” events. Are you doing more than one big event a year? You might feel the effects of “donor fatigue” then. When was your last event? If you’re following too closely on the heels of another event, consider that your second round may not seem as special – or as worthwhile – to your donors.
When you have what’s called an “integrated” team, it means different parts of your organization are all represented in the way you reach donors. Executive leadership, development strategy and communications should all have a stake – and a say – in creating and distributing content to your donors/supporters.
Part of teamwork is knowing the strengths and the availability of your team members. A key aspect of good development strategy is making a clear annual calendar that takes into account the cycles and deadlines affecting all your team members. Don’t just mark the holidays and absences – note when your grant application deadlines are, or when reports are due, or when your IRS audit is. Calendar moments like those can seriously affect how much time your team can dedicate to tasks like writing email campaigns or planning an event.
We’re always here for you: Call or email us to set up a free consultation and to learn about PDA’s tailored suite of development services.