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Four Tips on Leading an Effective Fundraising Team

Leading a team of fundraisers is not an easy task.  Maybe you lead a team of gift planners, major gift officers or an entire nonprofit development team. When leading a team there are many things to consider. For example, understanding each individual has a unique personality, positioning people where they will thrive, maintaining open communication, and building a safe working environment. The following are four tips on how you can lead an effective team.

1. Know Your Team’s Strengths: When you know each member’s strengths, you can provide them with tasks that will enable them to thrive. When someone is thriving and doing something they are passionate about, the tasks and projects are completed more quickly and efficiently. This leaves the team member feeling satisfied and accomplished in their job, and leads to motivation to support your work.

2. Set Clear Expectations and Goals: Providing a clear vision and manageable goals, allows your team members to know the direction you want to go with a specific task or project. Receiving their input in setting those goals and expectations is an important part of the team-building process. This allows each team member to have buy-in. It also provides a sense of ownership when working on, for example, a donor ask or gift agreement.

3. Be Accessible and Build Relationships: A leader who builds trust and is approachable creates a safe working environment for your team. Influential leaders can shape their work relationships through trust and dependability, which will create an opportunity for open communication in the workplace. Everyone wants to be a part of a team with this kind of culture. Donors are more likely to give to your cause if they have a relationship with one or more of your team members, so making strong relationships is fundamental to your success.

4. Lead by Example: Your team is there to listen and understand the changing needs of your organization and its donors. If you want your team to be committed to the vision, goals and expectations that you have placed before them, you need to show them by following through on these things yourself. This will build an extraordinary level of respect for your leadership and will drive your team to go above and beyond your expectations. Your donors already recognize which organizations have strong leadership and will support those causes.

To briefly review, an effective fundraising team starts with its leader. A leader who is considerate of distinctive personalities and strengths, sets clear expectations and makes themselves available to their team furthers the strength of the organization’s mission. Apply these tips and you may be amazed at the dedication of your fundraising team members as you pursue your nonprofit’s important cause.

Kimi Reid

By Kimi Reid
Integrated Marketing Coordinator, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

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