Survey: 25% of Fundraisers End Up Fired

There is instability in fundraising at organizations cross the country. During his workshop “Averting The Current Crisis in Nonprofit Leadership” during the National Catholic Development Conference, Marc A. Pittman, executive director of The Nonprofit Academy in Greenville, S.C., discussed a recent CompassPoint survey of 2,700 development staff and executive directors.

Pittman described a “vicious cycle” of inability to develop successful conditions and volatility in development function when outlining three key findings from the report:

* Organizations are saddled with high turnover and long vacancies in the development director position. Vacancies extend, on average, to six months and 50 percent of development directors anticipate leaving their posts within two years. Some 40 percent of development directors are not committed to a career in development.

* Organizational leaders are struggling to find qualified candidates for development director jobs and executives cite performance issues with development staff’s basic fundraising skills. Some 50 percent of executive directors surveyed indicated that their last development director search did not draw enough candidates with the right mix of skills and experience and 25 percent of executive directors fired their last development director.

When it comes to a track record, 25 of executive directors also said that their development directors have little or no experience with current and prospective donor research or securing gifts.

* Many organizational leaders are failing to build the capacity, systems and culture to support successful fundraising. Fewer than half of development directors surveyed said that they had a strong relationship with their executive director. A quarter of executive directors indicated that they lack skill and knowledge about how to secure first gifts. Three-quarters of organizations represented claimed that board member engagement is insufficient while 23 percent claimed to have no fundraising plan in place.