Creating a Culture of Fundraising at Your Organization

Dear Kim:

I was wondering what tips you have for engaging all levels of staff members in fundraising? I am being pushed to create a culture of fundraising within the organization, and while I’ve had moderate success engaging the department heads in major donor communication, I’m struggling a bit on how to engage the rest of the staff. Our structure is: one executive director, 5 department heads, and 7 other staff under the department heads.

~Heads in gear, tails slow to follow

Dear Slow Tails:

Congratulations on trying to do this-it is such an important part of successful fundraising. Know that it takes time because it is a great cultural shift and it sounds like you are having some success. My next step would be to ask the department heads what they think their staff would respond to. They are going to have to encourage their staff to be involved anyway by helping them arrange their work so that they have time to do fundraising, by setting a good example, and by showing that this is really important to them, and not just to you and the organization. You may want to suggest some small and time-specific tasks such as selling three tickets to your annual fund-raiser to friends and family. Reward anyone who sells 10 or more tickets with a free ticket. Or, give staff a list of virtual ways they can help: get friends to post comments on your organization’s blog, make sure your website is part of their email signature, talk about the organization on their Facebook page, etc. Make being involved in fundraising very easy at first, and then people will naturally progress to harder strategies. But above all, keep everyone involved in helping you keep everyone involved.

I also encourage you to sign-up for Rona Fernandez’ March 16th webinar on creating a culture of fundraising. Rona has had great success with this and has many valuable insights to share.

Good luck and keep us posted on what you learn doing this.

~Kim Klein