Article

Promoting Efficiency Through Delegation and Fundraising Management

Employing a medium-to-large nonprofit staff is a good indication your organization is making waves of positive change in your community, and you have the funds to support a growing, robust group of change-advocates. Good for you!

But with all these people working toward the same goal, confusion can arise, especially when it’s time to run a fundraising campaign.

The question remains: Are you managing your fundraising campaign with proper delegation?

Truth be told, effectively delegating a fundraising campaign when you have a medium-to-large nonprofit (operating budget of $5 million or more) is vital to the success of your campaign.

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Plus, smart delegation ensures a healthy work environment—which is something we all could use more of!

Let’s dive into a complete illustration of “who does what” best practices for a nonprofit fundraising campaign.

Organization and Delegation Matter

Why delegate?

Nonprofit leaders delegate because it ensures everyone’s doing their own job and completing everything that needs to get done.

As a Manager: Delegation itself is hard to do, especially if you’ve risen to the top at your nonprofit organization and have accomplished the jobs of those working for you. But an effective leader is also an effective delegator.

When the CEO or fundraising director provides clear, actionable to-dos to staff and volunteers, what they’re doing is freeing up their own time to do what they can only do, such as looking at each campaign from a “big picture” perspective.

As a Staff Member: Managing from the top-down is good for the entire organization because it allows nonprofit staff and volunteers to add their own perspective to the job. As a nonprofit professional, delegation means freedom to perform your job without overarching oversight.

When each person does what he or she is supposed to do in a fundraising campaign, from managing the entire operation to writing out “Thank You” notes, you’re ensuring a streamlined, efficient work environment.

But that’s not all. Smart delegation is also helpful for employee retention in our industry, which sees high rates of turnover across the board.

What’s There To Do?

“Who does what?” in a fundraising campaign depends entirely on what needs to be done.

During the average online fundraiser, you’ll need staff to create a thorough fundraising plan, handle the technical components, market, implement the fundraiser, and then close the campaign.

Here are some of the common tasks for staff during the typical online fundraising campaign:

  • Goal setting
  • Creating a strategy for success
  • Weighing budget, fundraising expenses, and expected income
  • Delegating tasks to staff and volunteers
  • Create the fundraising website
  • Post nonprofit stories, images and/or video to the site
  • Maintain the blog feature
  • Monitor campaign, particularly income
  • Adjust campaign marketing efforts as necessary
  • Promote the campaign on social media
  • Promote the campaign on email
  • Manage volunteers (if applicable)
  • Close campaign
  • Report results
  • Input donor data

For peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, add these extra tasks:

And, as you know, these few tasks are just the tip of the iceberg. Fundraising campaigns are complex, and the amount of work that goes into each campaign is significant, to say the least.

Who Does What?

You know what you need to do; now it’s time to consider who will do the delegating.

Most often, this is a person or persons from your leadership team.

At my previous employer, our CEO/President and the Director of Resource Development usually delegated fundraiser-specific tasks to our team. However, this person/persons vary depending on the makeup of your organization.

Major campaign tasks, such as structuring the campaign, firming up the timeline, etc. are generally performed by the director.

On the other hand, managers and other professional-level staff are often provided with specific campaign-specific directives, such as creating the online fundraising website and recruiting personal fundraisers.

Remember, there’s no one “right” way to divide responsibilities.

You may decide it’s by job title, or by character strength, or however you see fit. Regardless of how you delegate, it’s important to communicate your strategy accordingly.

These are some common fundraising campaign-specific tasks for each level and employee job position. Again, keep in mind that an employee’s disposition is just as important as his/her title.

  • Board/Executives/Leaders: Provide big-picture ideas, an annual goal, a campaign-specific goal, offer a budget for fundraising. These leaders delegate to directors and team leaders. They’re the supreme decision makers responsible for downstream delegation.
  • Directors and Team Leaders: Provide campaign structure, fundraising staff delegation, oversight. They’re directly accountable for the campaign’s success and should be available for consult should a problem arise.
  • Fundraising Staff: Manage day-to-day campaign-specific tasks such as creating and maintaining fundraising website, encouraging personal fundraisers, and inputting any relevant donor data. They’re in the trenches, making friends, raising money, and supporting the entire campaign operation.
  • Marketing and Communications Staff: Create campaign materials, update social media accounts, promote the campaign via emails.
  • Program-Focused Staff: Provide data on impact, offer success story candidates, provide a “behind the scenes” insight.
  • Volunteers: Assist with time-consuming tasks such as writing “Thank You” notes, work as personal fundraisers, etc.

Keep in mind, there’s no one way to delegate. All that matters is that you do it to ensure a successful fundraising campaign.

Promoting Efficiency Via Fundraising Management: It’s Vital

Taking a good look at how you’re delegating is the first step in refining your fundraising strategy. To perform a delegation audit, take a look at who is handling each task.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are directives coming from the top?
  • Are employees given the freedom to try new techniques?
  • Is each employee given a reasonable amount of tasks?

From there, adjust your “who does what” strategy, by following these tips:

  • Create an accessible spreadsheet for each fundraising campaign that details the “to do” and the person responsible.
  • Maintain a hierarchy so that each person knows who to report to at any given time
  • Ensure every task has a purpose. If you find that a specific job doesn’t help improve your relationships and boost your fundraising efforts, consider removing it from the list.
  • Provide an equal amount of responsibilities for each team member, keeping in mind that some tasks (such as volunteer management) require more time and expertise.
  • Keep your lists fluid. As you delegate each fundraising campaign, you’ll quickly learn which staff members excel at certain jobs, and you can fine-tune your process. When it comes to character and job titles, both should be considered when delegating.

When managing any fundraising campaign, the key to success and efficiency is delegation.

By following a proper fundraising management strategy that involves task-specific delegation, your medium-to-large nonprofit can survive even the most complicated of fundraising campaigns.

 

 

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