In my last post, I urged frontline fundraisers to not worry about the outside forces they can’t control, and to focus on executing their fundraising plan for each donor in their portfolio… the one thing they do have control over.

Now, I want to specifically address non-profit leaders and managers and what they can do to help their frontline fundraisers stay on track with their plans.

Bottom line: Don’t get in their way.

Too often, Richard and I, along with our team, are confronted by MGOs who tell us they are being asked to do tasks that have nothing to do with building relationships with donors. Things like: being on internal committees, attending every staff and organizational meeting, helping plan and execute events, do all their own administrative work, run “important” people to the airport… the list can go on and on.

All of this “stuff” you’re asking MGOs to do is taking precious time away from them building relationships with donors and asking for gifts. And, in these uncertain economic times, when pressure to maintain and grow revenue from your board and leadership is high, why would you jeopardize that by pulling your revenue-generating MGO into non-revenue-generating activities?

You can’t justify it.

Another key to managing your MGO, besides allowing them to work their plan, is to help them stay focused and accountable to that plan. Too many managers are not really managing their fundraisers. This can happen if your focus on all the administrative work or if you’re preoccupied by working with your own portfolio.

I get it. You are under a tremendous amount of pressure too. However, your team will struggle to meet or exceed their goals without your consistent management.

I’m urging you to block out 1 hour a week for each of your direct reports. Meet every week for 45 minutes and that allows you 15 minutes to prep prior to meeting with the MGO. In that meeting you want to go over last week’s moves, talk through the current week’s portfolio activities, and go over specific donor strategies with 1 to 3 donors. Provide counsel, encouragement, and direction. And leave them inspired!

This is the same work we do at Veritus with the hundreds of mid, major, and planned giving officers we work with each day. If you carve out this time for your direct reports, you will know for a fact which fundraisers are working their plan and which ones are not. And, if you’re meeting every week, it’s almost impossible for your fundraisers to NOT be working their plan.

This is the secret to success for fundraisers. Have a plan, execute the plan, and have a manager or leader who takes away any barrier, yet holds them accountable to that plan.

Then, as a manager or leader, you can know that you have done all YOU can to ensure that your frontline fundraising team is allowed to work their plan. If you can do that, they (and you) will be successful, regardless of outside forces that are beyond your control.


PS – And if you feel like you need help with effectively managing your fundraisers so they can do what they do best, reach out to us! We’d love to connect. (You can schedule time with my colleague Amy here.)