What will jumpstart your fundraising efforts? Is it leadership, board involvement? A seasoned development director? Well, all of these components are great, but without a sharp administrative staff person, your efforts can lag and become easily bogged down. We know. It may not seem intuitive to invest in administrative support when what you really need is cash in the door to keep your mission moving, right now. What is often overlooked, however, is the evidence that shows that having a fundraising administrative role to support your Development Director and/or Executive Director can be the key to bringing those much-needed dollars in the door.
Importantly, if your high level staff are overwhelmed with fundraising database management, mailings and event logistics, they can’t focus on building and sustaining donor relationships. Our clients have had huge gains when they hire this role to support whoever is responsible for philanthropy.
The top 5 things we’ve found that a person in an administrative role can do to save time for your organization:
- Prepare packets of information for major gift prospects in advance and have them on hand
- Track follow up steps in your fundraising database to ensure that volunteers make their calls
- Maintain addresses and phone numbers in your database, rather than in excel
- Create report templates in your database that display fundraising information clearly so it can be easily pulled for meetings to track the progress of your campaign
- Prepare agendas prior to meetings, along with all paperwork/ copies needed ensuring the best use of staff and volunteer time
Most importantly, if your Development Director or Executive Director currently spends their time on these tasks, this needs to stop. If you are that person, consider how many collective hours you have spent doing things like: trying to format a sheet of mailing labels, cumbersomely entering gifts into the database, or preparing donor acknowledgement letters? Now, if that time had otherwise been spent on donor recruitment, how many new donors might you have picked up if you were able to focus like a laser on donor engagement activities?
A well trained, tech-savvy administrative professional will efficiently complete these tasks and free up valuable time for cultivation and follow up, face to face meetings with volunteers, and yes, will translate to more dollars in the door. Time and time again we have seen organizations hire this person, somewhat reluctantly, and soon enough they are raving about the difference it has made for them.
Let’s put it this way: there is no reason why your fundraising office should not function like a well-oiled machine, and that is what this investment will guarantee. In short order, you’ll see your reputation in the community grow, along with your organizations pocket book. In fact, this one hiring decision could be the key to putting your organization’s fundraising efforts on the fast track.