The Mikuska Group  

Gaining the trust of the community

A disturbing fact about fundraisers and the leadership in their organizations is that many don’t work together to ensure the development staff stay put long enough to learn their job and create relationships with donors.

It’s hard to gain the trust of the community if you stay in your job for only 12 to 14 months. Yet this is the norm for development professionals across all sectors. The biggest reason people leave is to take a position at a higher salary. This obviously benefits the individual fundraiser, but it simply perpetuates the revolving door. And it doesn’t make for a very satisfying career.

We know fundraising is about building relationships. One of the most important is between the development director and the CEO. If they work together, understand their roles and trust each other, chances are they’ll be successful in engaging donors. If the CEO pushes all responsibility for fundraising on to the director, it sets up the director – and the organization – to fail. So it’s going to take a courageous stand by directors to educate the CEOs and boards about their roles and about the directors’.

The most gratifying career in fundraising is one built on long-term relationships. If you find an organization whose mission moves you, then commit to it and work within it to encourage the culture of engagement. The community is counting on you to do your part in creating a healthy organization that can fulfil its mission.

Julie Mikuska


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