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One easy step to help your development staff succeed

Today your development staff will:

  • Update event details on your website
  • Arrange for trash pick up at a breakfast meeting for teams
  • Talk with your mail house about whether they should send a 4×6 or a 5×7 postcard
  • Try to identify a donor database an fundraising platform that works with your antiquated accounting system.
  • Pour over stock photos
  • Develop a participant manual
  • Design a t-shirt
  • Arrange for a gumball machine to be refilled
  • Develop a registration workflow
  • and if they get any additional time maybe talk with your organization’s donors.
So what’s the one thing you can do to help your staff succeed? 
Ask yourself is this the best use of their time.

You hired professional development staff, but your preventing that staff from doing development. The belief that your saving the organization money by having your development staff do these jobs is wrong on two accounts. First they are not raising as much as they could be, and second they are wasting money and time trying to learn how to effectively do these projects.

Hiring a professional will yield a better product, in a quicker amount of time (a better use of organization funds because its more efficient). Not to mention that now you have freed up your staff to bring in additional funds.  Imagine an event where your staff actually has time to stop and have a real conversation with a top fundraiser, or a development staffer whose week is filled with one on one meetings with team captains instead of spending that time discussing tent company bids with prospective vendors.
Laurance A. Pagnoni, President Laurence A. Pagnoni & Associates shared this observation in “NONPROFIT OUTSOURCING: A Vital Option“.
“We don’t outsource,” the development director of a downtown youth services agency recently advised a consultant who sought an interview with her. Her tone was dismissive, as if she were being asked to support the death penalty or carry a concealed weapon.

Organizationally outsourcing can come in many different packages, but in development specifically it can include such timely responsibilities as event logistics, design, promotion, and even data entry post-fundraiser.  While from a few years back, a report from Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation & Management Assistance Group indicated a few key findings in their “Outsourcing Back-Office Services in Small Nonprofits: Pitfalls and Possibilities” some of which include:

  • Outsourcing may not offer short-term cost savings but can offer significant long-term benefits and cost savings.
  • There is great opportunity for business entrepreneurs with a deep knowledge of and sensitivity to the nonprofit sector and innovative new business models.

What outsourcing benefits or challenges has your organization seen?


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