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Part two of a two-part series.

When it comes to raising funds for your organization, is everybody doing everything all at once? Are some people doing nothing? Are there lapses in your fundraising activities? If you answered yes to any or all of these, you may find the situation can get better when everyone knows what roles and responsibilities are. These let everyone know what they’ve agreed to do, when, how, and with whom.

We recommend defining roles and responsibilities for all the people who will help you reach your fundraising goals. When you present a staff person, board member, or volunteer with a written description of what exactly you want them to do it is easier for them to say “yes” or “no” or to ask questions. Don’t worry that people will reject working with you if you document exactly what it is that you expect them to do. It is much better for people to know your expectations in advance. That way they can give you an honest response as to whether or not they can truly be of service. It also allows volunteers the opportunity to set aside time in advance to fulfill their responsibilities. If someone can’t fulfill the roles and responsibilities you have set out, you can mutually negotiate them. Or you can ask someone else to serve instead.

Here a few examples to consider including in a description:

  1. Identify 35 prospective donors who have the interest and financial capacity to make an annual gift of $15,000 each.
  2. Host quarterly “friendraisers” for prospective donors, volunteers, or supporters.
  3. Meet personally with each prospective donor to explore his interests, provide information about our fundraising, and answer questions.
  4. Secure pro-bono printing services for the printing of new brochures.
  5. Participate in the process of selecting and testing new donor management software.
  6. Provide electronic contact reports after each visit with a current or prospective donor.

If you are writing roles and responsibilities for a committee, be sure to include a list of the types of people who you suggest as potential members. Ideally, the committee chair should invite people she knows to serve with her on the committee. You can always suggest potential members, but remember, it is best to empower your volunteer leadership. Let them attract people they want to work with.

We cannot stress enough how important it is to attract people who are willing and able to fulfill identified roles and responsibilities. It may take you six to nine months to secure a fundraising chair who is willing to solicit lead gifts (a minimum of 20 percent of your fundraising goal) and major gifts. That is much better then quickly attracting a chair who is not willing to solicit gifts at all.

We recommend that you work with your team to create roles and responsibilities for the following:

  1. Board chair
  2. Board members
  3. Fundraising leadership team
  4. Development committee of the board
  5. Executive director
  6. Development director
  7. Senior staff
  8. Fundraising volunteers

Here’s a closing tip. Before drafting job descriptions for staff members and volunteers, seek their input. An internal and informal audit of roles and responsibilities provides a helpful starting point for more formal documentation. As appropriate, ask staff, volunteers, and executive leadership to create a comprehensive list of the tasks they complete on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis on behalf of your organization. This accounting will help crystallize the scope of duties required of each position and may identify gaps or inconsistencies in the workflow. Use this information as you create standardized job descriptions for current and future staff and volunteers.

Here’s a checklist you can use to help stay on track with creating the roles and responsibilities you need to support your organization’s fundraising. Reference the list as you go through the process of defining roles and responsibilities and – importantly – gaining the agreement of those who will fulfill them.

  • We have identified who we need to write specific roles and responsibilities for.
  • Roles and responsibilities documents have been prepared for each identified committee, volunteer, or employee.
  • All volunteers and employees have reviewed their respective roles and responsibilities.
  • Roles and responsibilities have been revised and updated based on feedback from volunteers and employees.
  • Orientation or launch meetings have been held for each committee to ensure all members understand their collective and individual roles and responsibilities and have determined how they will organize themselves to meet those goals.

Fundraising success requires that everyone knows their role and responsibilities. Part one of this series provides an overview of the types of questions you can ask yourself as you begin the work of defining roles and responsibilities. These are an important component of accountability – no one can be accountable for things they haven’t agreed to. Support your organization by creating and working fundraising roles and responsibilities.

Excerpted from Prerequisites for Fundraising Success by Mel and Pearl Shaw

Copyright 2023 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Let us help you plan for 2023! Video and phone conferencing services are always available. Call us at (901) 522-8727.

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