Engage hearts, heads, and hands with strategic stewardship.

You’ve heard the common saying “If you want to understand somebody’s values, look at how they spend their time and money.” It’s a simple measure of resources to identify what is truly treasured.

Fundraisers are philanthropic facilitators. We build relationships to identify donor passion and align that passion with investment opportunities in our organizational mission. Relationship-building is fundamental to effective fundraising. Because of the role relationship-building plays in fundraising, our allocation of people may be the most telling measure of our current values and the future of fundraising.

Look at the division of labor within the philanthropic arm of your own organization. How are staff responsibilities allocated? To help illustrate the alignment of staffing, try another quick exercise.

Write down these common stages of the fundraising process:

  1. Identify/Qualify ___________
  2. Cultivate/Solicit ___________
  3. Steward ___________

Now, assess the primary responsibility of each member of your development team and assign them to just one of the three areas listed above. If your experience is anything like mine, the results are disheartening.

It is little wonder why our profession struggles with issues of donor attrition and staff retention. It is easy to see why the philanthropic sector continues to battle the court of public opinion regarding fundraising overhead, fundraising effectiveness, and the use of unrestricted support. (more…)