Professional fundraisers vs. boards: Are you doing it right?

Does your board drive you crazy? Join the club.

101fundraising posted recently on the ways boards clash with their fundraisers: Why fundraisers and boards don’t get along, and one of the things that makes life so difficult is the common attitude among board members that fundraising isn’t a profession. After all, board members themselves raise funds, sometimes a lot of funds, and they aren’t professional fundraisers.

So they feel free to interfere and micromanage fundraisers, using their own amateur guesses as guides, not listening to the professionals who should have actual knowledge to work with. But…

Fundraisers don’t help themselves here. Many seem to do their level best to ignore practice knowhow, training, professional association, qualifications, credentialing, ethics … and yet lament that they are not taken seriously. Just being good at your job isn’t enough — [board members] don’t even know what being good at your job really means! This is a big leadership challenge for fundraisers.

If you’re flying by the seat of your pants all the time, doing fundraising based on your own intuition, not gathering the facts or keeping up with the work by reading and taking part in professional conversations — you deserve to be treated like an amateur! You are one. Why anyone is paying you to be a fundraiser is a mystery.

Give your board members a reason to believe you’re a professional. That doesn’t guarantee that they will — but at least you’ll have a leg to stand on as you make the case against meddling.


Comments

2 responses to “Professional fundraisers vs. boards: Are you doing it right?”

  1. Nigel Harris Avatar
    Nigel Harris

    Thanks for referencing this blog Jeff – and for your comments. Greatly appreciated. This is a big deal for fundraisers and in my observation many still don’t get it! There’s a big challenge to move to a more common sense of professionalism in fundraising and to understand what that can be.

  2. Nigel Harris Avatar
    Nigel Harris

    Thanks for referencing this blog Jeff – and for your comments. Greatly appreciated. This is a big deal for fundraisers and in my observation many still don’t get it! There’s a big challenge to move to a more common sense of professionalism in fundraising and to understand what that can be.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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