A few weeks back, I posted this question:
Q: As an E.D., what percentage of my time should be spent on fund raising? I am relatively new at this and want to balance my schedule.
My answer was something like, “100%.”
And I got some comeuppance. Here are some of the comments:
Roger Carr responded:
I appreciate that you are a fundraiser, but I am concerned with the answer you gave (and with many of the answers I have been reading lately from other fundraising consultants)…Raising money is not the purpose and mission of most nonprofit organizations.It is one of the required tools to carry out the mission. If most or all of the ED’s time is spent fundraising, there is probably no reason for the organization to exist. A significant amount of time also needs to be spent in areas such as program development and advocacy in support of the cause…Fundraisers need to understand there is more to a nonprofit organization than fundraising (although I agree it is a critical part). Do you agree?
In a conversation, my friend Rob Hatch asked largely the same thing.
Then Mazarine Treyz said:
I agree with Roger and Marc, equally. We’ve got to fundraise AND oversee programs as executive directors. Depending on what stage of crisis the nonprofit is in, I would say, allocate more or less time to fundraising. At least 50% of the time is a good start anytime, and 100% of the time if the nonprofit is really in trouble.
And Katie from NE posted a comment that made my day:
Since I work in a nonprofit that exists to raise money for a hospital, I can easily agree with Marc, but yes, for most nonprofits there is programming and advocacy, too. I would mention that there is fundraising potential in programming and advocacy efforts that shouldn’t be overlooked, and just because you are “working on our outreach” that doesn’t mean that the outreach activity might not also present a fundraising opportunity. For instance, if you are lining up volunteers to read with recent immigrants, you might also look for ways to bring board members or supporters in for an open house or other event to both orient the volunteers and make them feel important and appreciated, and help dial in your potential major donors to the core mission. Fundraising can be a part of nearly everything you do.
“Fundraising can be a part of nearly everything you do.”
I think Katie summed up what I’d meant to say.
But the conversation’s just starting. What do you think? Is fundraising taking away from mission? Or is there a way that fundraising it be part of “nearly everything you do” in your nonprofit?