Partnering with staff versus enlisting aid

Enlisting the aid of employees to boost fundraising is a tried-and-tested idea. But during an Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) annual conference, Bob Ramin of the Washington Animal Rescue League, Nina Fascione of Defenders of Wildlife and Martha Schumacher of Hazen Inc., emphasized the idea of partnering with program staff to raise more revenue.

They said that success depends on strengthening the development/program partnership, and they offered tips on how to do just that.

  • Engage program staff strategically. For example, have targeted donor interactions and relationships.
  • Establish shared priorities to build trust and credibility. Demonstrate an interest in and knowledge of programs.
  • Acknowledge and respect different backgrounds and communication styles. Remember the difference between program- and development-speak.
  • Educate about the bigger picture. Think of larger and longer-term goals.
  • Identify and utilize the organization’s best ambassadors. Learn who would be best on donor visits.
  • Train, train, train. Don’t forget about the ask.
  • Partner on donor visits. From program: the mission depth content. From development: the clarifier/closer.
  • Report back on successes. Provide positive donor feedback.
  • Engage in strategic ongoing stewardship. Have a central office ad notes for a database. Remember to distinguish between rock stars vs. relationship facilitators.