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Posted on in Fundraising

Development Directors are facilitators. Their work is done through the actions of others: executive directors, board members, funders, donors, volunteers, program staff.

For the most part, the visible components of the development process – sending a letter, having lunch with a prospective donor, approving a grant proposal, writing a check – are prepared for by the development director, but undertaken by those in more external-facing roles.

A development director’s job can be compared to the invisible hand moving the pieces around a chess board. 

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Posted on in Nonprofit

It’s August. Time slows down, people go out of town, and those of us left around may actually have time on our hands.

So that’s the time to think big picture, figure out what’s in the way, and develop a skeleton plan to move forward through those shoals.

In that vein, we’ve been talking about succession with a couple of groups these days – board chairs planning a year or two ahead, executive directors looking at retirement (or second careers), development directors thinking about how to leave the nest in good shape to take on the next challenge.

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Posted on in Fundraising

As in: Social Norms. In Nonprofits. Around Fundraising.

When people segregate the function of raising money from the fulfillment of mission, fundraising fails. It’s as simple as that – and yet so complex to fix.

And the nexus in which all this comes together – boards that won’t engage, executive directors who shy away from the ask, program staff who create a Berlin Wall between program and fundraising – is the office of the development director.

Without a nonprofit “culture of philanthropy,” it’s a hard slog to go it alone. In fact, it’s not really possible.

No wonder the average development director’s tenure is about 3-4 years.

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