Turn-over within the development or fundraising profession is rampant. Recent national studies claim that professional fundraisers change jobs, on average, every two years. This situation has ominous implications for the financial footing of the more than one million registered non-profit organizations which depend so heavily upon philanthropic support. Why? Because successful fundraising is grounded upon meaningful relationships with donors at both the macro (annual fund) and micro (major, principal and planned gifts) levels. Excessive turn-over obviates relationship-building.
There are many reasons cited for this problem, but inadequate compensation, insufficient organizational support, unrealistic fundraising goals, and impatient leadership are among the most frequently noted. The temptations for the experienced fundraiser to “jump ship” are manifold and apparently, often irresistible.
But, is that new job in your best professional and personal interests? How can you objectively assess whether that next opportunity will likely lead to a successful and satisfying career experience for YOU?
As you consider your next position, will you take up your new job fully confident that you will bring the FOUR E’s to your work?
Engaged: in the mission, vision and goals.
Enthusiastic: about the organization and the inevitable hard work that success will inevitably demand of you.
Enabled: with those resources to succeed and make a real difference.
Eyes Open: to the realities, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
This guide has been prepared by West Avenue Associates reflecting upon years of experience, both as consultants to and senior staff members of some very successful non-profit organizations. We offer this as an aide to our development colleagues to navigate through many of the questions that should be considered as one ponders a job change. We hope you find it helpful.
IMPORTANT: there are no right or wrong answers to these questions...only YOUR answers.
David C. Johnson, President, West Avenue Associates