Fundraisers and supporter services need to speak the same language

LanguageToo often FundraisingForce gets asked to assess the database or customer relationship management (CRM) solution of a non-profit organisation or university in order to determine if the supporter services or advancement services department is “doing the right thing”. In such an engagement, we often find the supporter services or advancement services department just want the fundraisers to give them direction. In actual fact, fundraisers and supporter services need to speak the same language.


Tips for Supporter Services

What do I mean about speaking the same language? Here are few tips for those people in supporter or advancement services:

  • People in support roles need to fully understand the fundraising business.
    • Management must allow (or even require) support staff to attend fundraising trainings and other professional development opportunities.
    • The Fundraising Institute Australia offers its Fundraising Essentials course in the major markets. This one day course is a fantastic way for support staff to learn the key components, terminology, and concepts of fundraising in 8 short hours.
  • Likewise, people in support roles need to see themselves as customer-centric and realise fundraisers and the general public are their customers.
  • People in support roles need to be considered to be fundraisers in their own right and as an important part of the fundraising team.
  • People in support roles need to be proactive in their approaches to their jobs.
    • Don’t wait to be told by fundraisers what to do; implement a proactive approach to your job and stay a step ahead of the fundraisers.
  • People in support roles need to set their own key performance indicators (KPIs) and spend the time to report out on measurements against those KPIs.

Tips for Fundraisers

Likewise, those in fundraising roles have a responsibility here:

  • Keep support staff fully informed of fundraising plans and activities.
  • Involve those in support roles in strategic planning at the outset.
  • Make all support staff part of the plan.
  • Treat support staff as though they are part of the fundraising team and not merely as administrative or “back office” staff.
  • Celebrate fundraising successes with support staff as part of the celebration.
    • Ensure you highlight what the support staff did to help you achieve your fundraising success.

Above all, fundraisers and support or advancement services staff need to maintain strong and effective communication and need to hold each other accountable. Without such a relationship, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Additionally, without such a relationship, the fundraising cycle fails and the organisation does not achieve the level of success needed.