The Ultimate Fundraising Dream Team


Penguins make great fundraisers!

I’ve written a lot recently about the board of directors taking responsibility for their role in fundraising. It IS there job, after all. But of course, as people have pointed out, the board can’t do it on their own. Well, they can, but having a partnership with employees is probably a better strategy.

At a minimum, there are three people who should be leading your fundraising efforts. This should be your Fundraising Dream Team. The degree of your success depends on how well each of these persons fulfills their role and how well they work with each other. While you don’t HAVE to have all three, I’ve found it works better if you do.

  • Board Chair (or president)
  • Executive Director (or CEO)
  • Development Director (or similar title)

To start, lets examine fundraising responsibilities. While each person has other duties, I’m talking here about their collective efforts in creating and maintaining a culture of philanthropy. (Here’s a previous article about creating a culture of philanthropy.)

Executive Director

  1. Give a leadership gift to the organization
  2. Actively participate in fundraising planning
  3. Support culture of philanthropy (link to post)
  4. Be visible in the community (and in the organization) as a leader
  5. Accept and fulfill role in personal solicitations
  6. Create and maintain positive working relationship with Board Chair
  7. Conduct annual evaluation of Development Director
  8. Go on cultivation and invitation visits with Development Director and Board Chair
  9. Keep abreast of changes and needs of fundraising culture
  10. Allow for creativity and innovation

Development Director

  1. Give a leadership gift to the organization
  2. Pull the strings to make stuff happen when it’s supposed to
  3. Be visible in the community (and in the organization) as a leader
  4. Prepare materials (or have them prepared)
  5. Participate in gift invitations
  6. Monitor the fundraising activity calendar and schedule
  7. Keep Executive Director and Board Chair informed and briefed on activities and progress
  8. Handle the routine stuff (notes, minutes, meeting reminders, scheduling, etc.)
  9. Support the culture of philanthropy
  10. Attend regular AFP meetings and stay abreast of trending strategies and issues in the field

Board Chair

  1. Give a leadership gift to the organization
  2. Participate in asking other for their gift
  3. Be visible in the community (and in the organization) as a leader
  4. Learn how to support and sustain a culture of philanthropy
  5. Attend regular (monthly) meeting with development director and CEO
  6. Conduct annual evaluation of Executive Director and hold him or her accountable for maintaining strategic fundraising plan
  7. Lead the annual board evaluation & planning retreat
  8. Keep the board engaged in the life of the organization
  9. Recruit and help train new board members
  10. Find a mentor

That’s a good start. Your long-term fundraising success is dependent on creating and maintaining an effective dream team. Note: I’ll go into more detail about how they can work together to create energy and success in another post.

Do you have a Dream Team? How does it work?
photo credit: Liam Quinn via photopin cc