When we talk about fundraising we talk about building relationships and telling a story, strategy. I’d like to bring it down to the nuts and bolts: organizational skills. Nonprofit agencies should first hire a development coordinator — long before they hire a development director. With training, he or she will be the hero of your agency.
The development coordinator is the person that keeps the fundraising calendar, follows up on meetings that the board and the executive director have and makes sure every note and gift is in the database. If you have a great development coordinator, you will raise money. And you will make your donors happy.
In small to mid-size agencies, we want to hire the Person Who Will Turn It Around. The Person Who Will Save Us. Please stop looking for that person.
Please start looking for someone who will organize the people who are already talking to donors. He won’t let anyone fall through the cracks. She will set up a lunch once the executive director has spoken with a potential donor. The coordinator is the key person for all of your fundraising activities.
In other words, the development coordinator structures your systems and processes. And then you can find someone to be your second donor relations person, your evangelist and strategist. In my experience, it is rarely one person who can do both well and at the same time.
Shameless plug: Work Better Consulting trains development coordinators.