Directing the development of donor engagement is key to your organization’s philanthropic success. The director of development, in most cases, is responsible for the strategic and integrated management of relationships to increase understanding, involvement and financial support among an organization’s key constituents.

The best way to maximize on these efforts is to take a team approach and not go it alone.

Here are tips for achieving this goal:

Effective fundraising takes cooperation.

Leverage a cross section of individuals in order to maximize on more of the opportunities available.

It is important to enlist the help of board members, current/past donors, staff, volunteers and grateful individuals who have been served by your nonprofit to help tell your organization’s unique, comprehensive story.

Encourage your strategy partners to consider their existing relationships.

Have them align with a trusted member of the development staff and make introductions. Remind them to focus on impact, relationships and the needs you will meet, not transactions!

Remember the fundraising adage: If you want advice, ask for money. If you want money, ask for advice. This takes time, so be prepared to invest it. Your donors are keeping track.

Listen well.

You are cultivating the donor and their interests, not yours! Record what you learn. Develop and practice your case for support. Stats are great, but storytelling will always get you further.

Donors want to improve the overall experiences for the individuals or animals served by the organizations they choose to support.

Keep in mind that philanthropy work can be a heavy lift for some volunteers and, at times, quite discouraging. Creating opportunities to educate and equip them for success will go a long way in gaining and retaining the support you desire from them.

Most importantly, don’t forget to show your appreciation by recognizing their extra efforts offered above their regular work schedules. Connect the dots between their hard work and advancing the mission. Remember, it’s not about the development team doing less, it’s about highlighting the necessity of fundraising and creating a more sustainable culture of philanthropy.

P. Kevin Williamson
Associate Consultant

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