Most fundraising teams have no shortage of work – and fundraisers can get bogged down in everything from administrative work to planning events to drafting communications.

But the largest opportunity for philanthropy is on the frontline, and long-term success in this role requires a partnership between fundraisers and their leaders. Otherwise, fundraisers will be busy without ever achieving the success that means so much to them, and more importantly, the organizations they serve.

For managers, the answer is to start by asking yourself key questions:

Have I established agreed-upon outcomes?
Does your team member know exactly what is expected of them, and how success in their role is defined?

Am I prioritizing?
Do you want your staff member to focus on the frontline, or to plan a series of events, manage communications, or help you with your own projects? For your staff to succeed, you need to choose.

Am I asking the right questions?
Consistently ask probing questions about the fundraiser’s work, and you’ll be able to identify and remove barriers to success early.

Do I have productive conversations about performance?
The more quickly a potential performance issue is addressed, a positive outcome is more likely. Talk about performance early, often, and directly.

Fundraisers and their leaders should have tools to support this focus too:

Effective calendar management
Every fundraiser should block time on the calendar every week for donor outreach. And, they need the discretion to say “no” to some meetings in order to make that time.

Constructive performance metrics
Metrics can be a tool to motivate, or they can be punitive. If you measure the right activity and not just outcomes, you have a better tool for coaching and rewarding both effort and outcomes.

Written strategies
Writing a strategy front-loads the hard work of thinking through meaningful engagement, timeline and internal partners, and creates a roadmap to success. Strategies also ensure you have a tool to support your work when sharing with leaders and academics.

Great fundraisers don’t just show up focused and stay that way. They’re given tools, support, and rewards for concentrating their efforts on the unique skillset for which they were hired. Great leaders make this all possible.

KDD Philanthropy can help your organization strengthen its culture, build tools and expand partnerships throughout the organization. Contact us today about how we can help your team achieve even greater success.

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