Fundraising Auctioneer - Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Fundraising Auctioneer

Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

In an earlier Blog I talked about the need for some charitable organizations to spend some of their money to hire and retain competent and quality employees. I realize donors want to see – and prefer – 100 percent of their donations going to the “cause” and not into “operation costs” which includes the hiring of a staff.

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However, as long as the money is spent wisely, the hiring of a competent staff – and that includes everyone from the Top Brass to the receptionist – more than pays for itself in the long run.

Simply stated, “Employee turn-over can easily turn into fundraising turmoil.” There is a price to pay for consistency. But considering all the benefits – it’s a small price to pay.

Staff turn-over is a constant problem in the fundraising universe and perhaps nowhere is that more true than in the Not-For-Profit world. The departure of Development Directors and CEO’s is fairly common place.

The reasons for their departure vary widely.

But, one of the main reasons is – they are forced out. This usually happens when new members of the Board of Directors are brought in with “change” on their agenda.  No Development Director or CEO of a charitable organization wants to continue working feverishly for a Board that questions their methods, their role – or even worse – simply doesn’t unanimously want them there.

Another main reason for their departure is a new job opportunity. When a better position opens up at another organization – and if a Development Director or CEO doesn’t feel he or she has the full backing of the Board of Directors – they can’t pack their boxes and depart their old office fast enough.

Now, here are the three primary motivators for people leaving a Not-For-Profit organization.

  • Not feeling fulfilled by their work
  • Require more money to sustain their family
  • Perception of lack of teamwork by other staff members or volunteers

So now the question arises, “What can be done to retain these top staffers?

Scott Robertson

Well, it all begins with hiring the “right fit” in the first place. CEOs and Development Directors are a bit like fundraising auctioneers. If you hire the best fit for the organization they’ll pay for themselves many times over.

From my experience, the “least expensive” hiring option, which many organizations do as a way to save money, is often the most expensive in the long run due to a lack of talent and the inability of that person to bring in the necessary “donor dollars.”

There are two other things the organization must do to retain the right person in this leading role.

First, the Board needs to exhibit confidence in its CEO or Development Director and the direction he or she is taking the organization.  Secondly, the Board needs to show appreciation for the job being done. Nothing creates “happy feelings” like a good pat on the back.

The lack of confidence and the lack of appreciation are two leading causes of employee loss.  And each time a CEO or Development Director moves on to another position, most of the momentum they generated is lost. That’s because the new CEO or DD comes in with a different attitude, a different set of skills – and all of these require time to overcome.

I realize Not-For-Profits are businesses and should be run as such. But they also need to hire the best they can afford, support those they hire and do what is needed to keep them engaged, productive and happy.  It’s a winning formula for both parties.

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