Fundraising is 90% preparation. Roles and responsibilities are a part of that preparation. In fact, defined roles and responsibilities for staff, consultants, board members, and volunteers help ensure that your fundraising activities run smoothly. When team members know their roles and responsibilities, they are more inclined to take action. No one person is being asked to do it all; each has a specific role to play. Roles and responsibilities should be documented and presented to prospective volunteers when they are invited to join your fundraising.
This takes time. Ideally, roles and responsibilities should be documented in your fundraising plan. If you haven’t already done so, take a moment for this work. It is important and greatly increases volunteer (and staff!) retention and productivity. It is much easier for people to meet the mark when they know what it is. Here are some questions to consider as you create fundraising-related roles and responsibilities.
What are the skills, experiences, connections, and personal attributes that a volunteer, committee member, or staff person needs to possess? What is this person or committee expected to accomplish or produce? If there is a fundraising goal that you expect an individual to meet, what is the amount of that financial goal? If it is a marketing or communications goal that supports fundraising, have you made it clear that marketing and communications activities need to positively impact fundraising?
For example, does your communication team understand the importance of placing op-ed pieces, purchasing ad space, or sending out an e-newsletter shortly before you begin to solicit year-end donations? Are members willing to work closely with the fund development team to create awareness and excitement for upcoming fundraising events? Are they prepared to communicate the impact your institution will make this year as a result of meeting a specific fundraising goal?
If you are asking an individual or committee to take responsibility for a project such as “fundraising from local faith organizations,” be sure to break the project into multiple tasks that can be tracked over time. These tasks are at the heart of roles and responsibilities.
Be specific. What are the time frames associated with each expectation? Is this person or committee expected to attend meetings? If so, which meetings and how often? Which staff members, volunteers, or committees are expected to collaborate, and for what purpose? Who does this person or committee report to? (Who do they turn to for guidance, suggestions, and resources?) Are there reporting requirements? If so, are these verbal, written, or electronic? What is the frequency? Who is the report given to?
Use your answers to these questions to create a one-paragraph description of the purpose of the position or committee, its financial (and non-financial) goals, and a list of specific tasks. Documenting the roles and responsibilities of people involved in your organization’s fundraising is the first step in their success. People really can’t say “yes” unless they know what you want them to do.
Excerpted from Prerequisites for Fundraising Success by Mel and Pearl Shaw