It’s impossible of course. You’ll never know if you are or not, or who is.
You’ll never know how much someone else had help in getting that major gift, or running that big event, you’ll never know if that big gift they got was the result of a nod from a board member that had nothing to do with the Development Director, or perhaps it was the unsung heroes of the development office, the volunteers, the committee members, the interns.
It’s not really supposed to be about us. It’s supposed to be about the cause. But it IS about us in a way. We do have to think about ourselves. If we don’t dream of being the best fundraiser in the world, what do we dream of? Getting promoted? Getting a corner office in a college someday? Making our nonprofit irrelevant?
What’s your definition of how to be the best fundraiser in the world? Leave a comment.
Here’s how I think you could be the best fundraiser in the world.
0. Learn about oppression. Figure out if you are using oppressive terms, or oppressive behaviors.
1. Acknowledge your team. Constantly help them, learn what they care about, help them find educational opportunities, help them grow.
2. Seek to be a persuader and activist. Cleanse yourself of negative rankism, and cleanse your organization too by calling out rankism and workplace abuse. Create a dignitarian organization.
3. Take the time to reassess why you are doing this. If your energy is flagging, if some aspect of your job drags you down, what would make you feel better? If you know you can’t get the respect/kudos/support you need from board or Executive Director, ask yourself how to make a jump.
4. Get good at creating financial reports and checking yourself. You need to have concrete fundraising metrics and goals, and strategies for what action steps you’re going to take if you’re not meeting these goals. This pre-supposes that you have a database that makes financial reports. If you don’t have this, I hope you can hear my foot tapping.
5. Remain curious about how to best build relationships and mobilize your community. Perhaps your mode of communication is the telephone. But your supporters want you to text them. Or vice versa. You need to be constantly searching for new ways to get people excited about what your nonprofit is doing, listening to what your community wants and its complaints, and strive to be there for them.
6. Be a researcher about your own organization. Interview everyone. Where could you do things better? Is there an FAQ for each job and how people do it? Investigate, help your team apply lean principles, and repeat.
I know, it takes courage and time to do this. If you’re swamped in a small shop with no resources, it’s exhausting just reading this list. But if you want to be the best, then I believe this is what you should do. Seth Godin says “Be a linchpin.” I believe that these tips will help you achieve linchpin status at your nonprofit.
And perhaps the AFP or the Nonprofit Times or the Chronicle of Philanthropy is never going to
call you the “best fundraiser,” but you will know it, and the people in your organization and your community will know it. And that is what matters.
Take a step. Just one step per week. Every small step is a big step. Start now.