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Fundraising Bright Spots: Strategies and Inspiration from Social Change Organizations Raising Money from Individual Donors

April 6, 2016

"Let's find an outside expert who can help." It's a natural impulse in the search for answers to the chronic fundraising challenges facing so many nonprofit organizations. But what if the real answers were already all around us? And what can we learn from those nonprofits that are uniquely successful in their fundraising? These are the questions behind a new report by Klein & Roth Consulting and CompassPoint. Commissioned by the Haas, Jr. Fund, the report explores common strategies, practices and mindsets across a group of social change organizations that are beating the odds to achieve breakthrough success in individual giving. Among the key insights from the report: Fundraising is core to the identity of these organizations. It's an integral and connected part of their overall work, and it's something everyone has a role in -- including all staff, board and volunteers. When we first started this research, we suspected we would begin to identify some common skills and innovative techniques that lead to success in fundraising. But what the research shows instead is that there are deeper issues involved. It's less about tools and techniques and the skills of an organization's leaders, and more about developing the culture and the systems that are the foundation of long-term fundraising success.

UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising

January 14, 2013

For years now, there has been widespread concern in the nonprofit sector about premature turnover of development directors, lengthy vacancies in the role, and the seemingly thin pool of qualified candidates from which organizations can choose. The development director is commonly labeled a "revolving door" position, and "the hardest to fill and retain" by executives, board members, funders, and capacity builders alike. Moreover, the challenge of assessing development director performance when so many factors influence an organization's fundraising success can leave executives and board members suspecting -- but uncertain -- that they could raise more money with someone else in the role. At the same time, development directors frequently lament the lack of consistent attention to fund development from executives, staff, and board members, rendering their job a frustrating set-up.To better understand these dynamics and to uncover potential solutions to the fundraising challenges nonprofits face, CompassPoint surveyed more than 2,700 executive directors and development directors across the country. Our sample includes a great diversity of organizations -- a wide range of budget and staff sizes, a multitude of mission types, and diverse geographic representation -- but the organizations have a critical commonality: a senior-level development staff person on their organizational chart, whether in place or currently vacant. We included both development directors and executive directors in this research because of their potentially distinct perceptions of the "revolving door" and its causes.Our bottom-line finding: Yes, there are considerable problems in the development director role across the sector, but there are also deeper challenges that undermine the ability of nonprofits to raise the money they need to succeed.In the following pages, this report illuminates what we learned about the specific dimensions of the staffing and organizational challenges, concluding with a set of recommendations to jumpstart a national conversation about what we all can do to help nonprofit organizations take their fund development to the next level.

Daring to Lead 2011: A National Study of Nonprofit Executive Leadership

July 8, 2011

Offers survey findings about trends and factors in nonprofit executives' plans to leave, including effects of the recession. Calls for advance planning, better grasp of financial sustainability, more professional development options, and stronger boards.

Daring to Lead 2006

January 1, 2006

Presents findings from a survey that examines why nonprofit executives leave their jobs. Offers recommendations for strengthening and supporting current leadership, creating more diversity, and developing the next generation of nonprofit leaders.