A nonprofit organization’s development team consists of paid staff and/or volunteers. It is led by the person charged with the responsibility for meeting contributed income needs for the organization. All but the smallest nonprofits will likely have a professional development director. The larger the nonprofit, the more likely it is to have additional fundraising professionals on staff.
All nonprofits have volunteer leadership—at the very least a board of directors or trustees. Any nonprofit in need of contributed income should have a board-led development committee. The members of that committee and any other volunteers involved in fundraising are part of the organization’s development team.
From time to time, a nonprofit organization may engage the services of consultants and other vendors to assist in fundraising efforts. They too are members of the development team.
How an organization recruits and supports development team members—staff, volunteers, and consultants/vendors—is crucial to its overall development effort. Whether members of the development team are well equipped to carry out their roles, committed to doing so, and enjoy the active support of the board will make all the difference between success and failure.
Articles about the Development Team
How and what development professionals are held accountable for are two of the most important questions nonprofit organizations and their fundraisers face. Accountability is a necessary tool for managing staff and fundraising efforts, but it is only as good as the...read more
The core of the question, in any of those settings, is a search for an "ideal" or industry standard. Such an animal doesn't exist. There are just too many variables for an across-the-board approach to organizing a development office, especially in terms of how many...read more
Let’s pretend you’re the person in a nonprofit organization charged with seeking grants and that your boss is going to hold you accountable to one or more of the following standards. You must get _____ proposals "out the door" every_____. You must get ____% of the...read more
There comes a time when some non-profit development professionals begin thinking about saying goodbye to their organizations and hello to the world of fund-raising consulting. They want to know what it takes to be a consultant, and how to find clients. Although the...read more
Mixing Oil and Water and Making it Work in a Non-Profit Organization The receiving and the handling of donations made to non-profit organizations are simple to do, but very often poorly done. When that happens, a vital block is taken out of the foundation we strive to...read more
Introduction The interview form presented below is designed to elicit as much pertinent information as possible and as desired or required in the most advanced of interviews. However, for the vast majority of non-profit organizations, it is meant to be a guide to the...read more
A For-Profit Salesperson's Guide to Getting a Job in Non-Profit Development Introduction The primary and most direct way for sales professionals to obtain positions as development professionals in non-profit organizations is for former sales professionals to promote...read more
Wearing Those Development and Marketing "Hats" at the Same Time: A Bad Fit and a Headache Introduction For decades, I have heard about, observed, and have had personal relationships with scores of individuals who attempted to wear the Development and...read more
The short answer is sooner rather than later! If a non-profit organization is beginning to ask whether it needs a professional development director, it probably should have hired one months, even years ago. The biggest mistake non-profits make in hiring their first...read more
Non-profits with resources sufficient to engage professionals in key staff positions seem to find it relatively easy to determine salaries for heads of marketing, finance, and human resources, among others. Development directors however are another story. Why is that?...read more
(It Makes for a More Perfect Fund-raising World) Introduction The fund-raising "left hand" not knowing what the "right hand" is doing when it comes to who is asking whom for how much, for which purpose, and when, has always been a common dilemma for non-profit...read more
Paying For Your Own Keep Too often, especially in smaller non-profit organizations, staff development officers are forced into a deplorable position that belittles them and damages the organization. They are charged with personally raising their own salaries. These...read more
The board of trustees must be the lifeblood of a non-profit organization's fund-raising and development activities. They are the leaders who approve program initiatives developed from the organization's long-range strategic plan. They authorize the expenditure of...read more
In a nonprofit organization, no single internal relationship is more important than that between the executive director and development director. One carries the responsibility of leading the organization to the efficient execution of its mission, and the other...read more
The following example of an annual fund development agreement between a non-profit organization and a fund-raising consultant is suggested as a guideline for: Organizations having little or no experience in drafting such documents. Experienced development...read more
Unrealistic Expectations, Pay Practices That Grantors Often See As Tainting The Funding Process, And Poor Planning And Follow Through, Can Doom The Best To Failure Some of the most heated discussion in the nonprofit world centers on grant writing. Why? Because so much...read more
Volunteers are the lifeblood of a development operation, and trustees are the most important volunteers of all. The trustees approve an organization's budget and they must accept personal responsibility for raising called-for contributed income. They are expected to...read more
This is the era of high-tech delivery of information in an instant. The Internet is accessible from any telephone line, and lap-top computers let us take the facts and figures—all the facts and figures—to wherever they're needed. Development professionals must master...read more
To consult, or not to consult—that is the question. Or at least it would be if Hamlet were to ask it. Hamlet's "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" make me think of fund-raising goals too great and resources to meet them too few. His "sea of troubles" sounds like...read more
Few topics generate more heated discussion in non-profit organizations than whether development professionals (staff or consultants) should be paid a percentage of the money raised, receive commission-based compensation, or be paid a performance bonus. Perhaps because...read more
"How Do I Get Started In Fund-Raising?" This question has been posed to me countless times in my nearly thirty-year career as a development professional. And, it is a query I now observe scores of times via the various internet non-profit-related News Groups. If this...read more
Never Hire Someone To Do What Is Their Responsibility Fund-Raising Consultants Can Be A Godsend. They Can Also Be An Ethical, Financial And Donor Relations Disaster For organizations with an inexperienced, small, or nonexistent development staff, consultants can do...read more