8 Elements of Valued Support

Hello, I’m calling on behalf of DoGood Charity, and …”


It’s the phone call people dread receiving, even people in the nonprofit sector, and the one fundraising volunteers dread making. Dread it or not, it is necessary for nonprofit organizations to survive and fulfill their mission, and will be for a long time.

Whether people make those calls voluntarily and enthusiastically (and supposedly such people do exist) or after being dragooned and cajoled, callers do need organizational support. There are also a few things they do not need.

During the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Fundraising Conference, Fiona Newton, director of donor and volunteer engagement at Johns Hopkins University, outlined both the kind of support fundraisers value and the type they most certainly do not value.

What is valued:

* Regular meetings in person and phone;

* Prospects lists to review;

* Attention of a senior fundraiser;

* Personal attention of senior faculty/staff;

* Opportunity to work with the dean/CEO;

* Support for new committees, strategy;

* Administrative support; and,

* Sensitivity to a potential conflict of interest.

And the kind of “support” not valued:

* Turf wars over donor prospects;

* “Listening and smiling” and nothing more at volunteers’ suggestions;

* Poor planning, poor follow-up;

* Late thank-you’s;

* Too much vs. too little info;

* Slow response to requests; and,

* Being told they can’t approach their own friends/contacts.