The Westside Gazette

Fundraising team building

Pearl and Mel Shaw
Pearl and Mel Shaw

Fundraising Good Times

Fundraising team building

     This is the fourth in a series focused on the prerequisites for fundraising success.

We can do so much more together than we can alone. A fundraising team – that includes board members, staff and volunteers – can transform your nonprofit. It will take time, energy and talent to build and manage such a team, but we believe it is worth the investment. Here’s what we have learned.

Fundraising is most effective when managed by a fundraising leadership team. Creating this team will bring together those responsible for major components of your fundraising. Not everyone, but the leaders of each aspect of your fundraising. They should meet regularly to report on their progress and challenges. Members should work collaboratively to help your organization reach its fundraising goal. They should be empowered to make decisions, and the decisions made by this team should be respected and implemented by other fundraising volunteers and employees.

A fundraising leadership team helps create accountability and transparency. Members are accountable to each other. Each member knows the commitments, roles, and responsibilities of all other members. There are no secrets. If there is a lull in gifts received, the full team knows about it. When new gifts are received, members know about it. When fundraising management reports are shared at meetings, team members can monitor the progress of fundraising activities, ask pertinent questions, and work with each other to create new strategies and work-arounds.

With a strong fundraising leadership team, the actions of staff, board members, and volunteers are open to review by team members. Financial progress and expenses are reported regularly at these meetings. Members have the opportunity to share information and coordinate their activities for the benefit of your organization, college or university.

When you have engaged qualified volunteers to assist with fundraising, you will be amazed at the solutions they can come up with. The key to an effective fundraising leadership team is for it to be volunteer-led with support from staff. That means the fundraising chair leads the team meetings, not the executive director or the chief development officer. Staff members support the work of the fundraising chair by producing and distributing fundraising reports, and taking and quickly distributing minutes that accurately capture action items and next steps. If you have selected a qualified fundraising chair and clearly defined his responsibilities, you will be amazed how he can assist you in meeting your goals. He can do this because he has made them his goals. He is no longer helping your nonprofit; he is orchestrating and attracting people and resources for something he believes in.

Next week: Qualities of an empowered team.

Copyright 2016– Mel and Pearl Shaw

For more fundraising and nonprofit management suggestions visit When you are ready to work with fundraising counsel call us at (901) 522-8727.

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