Do your President and Deans know how many days a year you have to fundraise? I bet they will be surprised by the answer. Recently a senior university advancement leader wanted to know how best to educate the deans about how limited the fundraisers time was to actually do the work of raising money. So how many days in a year do you actually have to meet prospects and raise money?
In the last three decades, many university advancement departments thoughtfully designed dedicated women’s “programs” or “initiatives.” These efforts responded to women’s preferences to connect and collaborate, as well as to be engaged before they are asked. Some resembled giving circles, while others focused on placing women in leadership positions or on connecting alumnae. However, a common thread united – and limited – these programs: they all were siloed, niche programs that artificially separated women’s giving from larger development efforts.
How is women’s giving behavior different from male donors? 5 insights about what makes women donate.
Managing up—the ability to influence the people to whom fundraisers report—is a big factor “that differentiates people who are able to advance in their careers and those who are not.”
Successful organizations in the modern economy require leaders to access their rational/analytical, AND emotional capabilities.So, how do we reconnect with and increase our innate capacity to understand and share the feelings of another? The first step is to go back to basics and retrain ourselves to listen.
Turnover can be costly. When a donor’s key contact leaves—whether it’s the president or development officer—the donor’s relationship with the institution is disrupted. The result? Delayed or decreased giving.
Fundraisers would do well to embrace qualities of the most successful salespeople—a focus on the customer, a commitment to active listening, and prioritization of long-term relationships over short-term gain.
A nonprofit colleague recently told me: “I know that we need to be paying attention to women – I don’t need more facts. Just tell me HOW to do it.” There is no magic bullet, but you can start by adapting your fundraising behaviors. Start with discernment.