Does your job title make donors want to avoid you?

It’s possible that your job title is so terrible, it’s chasing donors away.

That’s what a new study by researcher Russell James finds, as reported on the MarketSmart blog, at Why fundraiser job titles suck and cost you a lot of money!

The study asked people, “Who at the charity are you more likely to contact?” It gave them an array of typical nonprofit job titles.

The title that fewest people wanted to contact: Director of Advancement.

Others people didn’t want to get in touch with:

  • Chief Advancement Officer
  • Director of Institutional Advancement
  • Chief Institutional Advancement Officer

Think you can fix the problem by being called Director of Development?

Sorry.

Titles with the words advancement or development all did poorly.

May I say one gigantic and cumulative ouch for all those hardworking advancement and development professionals out there?

Titles that worked better sounded more gift/advisor-oriented. Like:

  • Chief Individual Giving Officer
  • Chief Special Gifts Officer
  • Director of Major Gifts

Take a look at your title. It may be one of those invisible (to you) barriers that keeps donors at a distance!

(Abstract of the study available here.)


Comments

2 responses to “Does your job title make donors want to avoid you?”

  1. We just did a bit of a title overhaul. Although our Executive Director still officially has that title, her wooden name tag for our events now reads “Director of Stuff.” Our Administrative Assistant’s name tag reads “Douser of Fires,” and my title was far too long. It’s now officially, “Creator of Opportunities.”
    Might as well have a bit of fun with it!

  2. We just did a bit of a title overhaul. Although our Executive Director still officially has that title, her wooden name tag for our events now reads “Director of Stuff.” Our Administrative Assistant’s name tag reads “Douser of Fires,” and my title was far too long. It’s now officially, “Creator of Opportunities.”
    Might as well have a bit of fun with it!

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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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