When we poll fundraisers in advance of team practices (I don’t like the word “training” because people aren’t pets), we see very similar responses across institutions including types of institutions (social services, arts organizations, colleges, etc.) and size of institutions.
In almost every incidence, fundraisers place the greatest confidence in themselves and their abilities.
The next highest level of confidence is in their colleagues, particularly those who support their work with research and, therefore, the quality of the prospects assigned to them.
They express decreasing confidence (in order) in:
Seeing this pattern over and over calls into question the remedies so often proposed to improve fundraising results, including:
But, then again, how many higher-ups and the “experts” they employ to improve fundraising results begin by listening to their fundraisers? Effective fundraising is rooted in deep listening. Organizations need to listen as closely to their fundraisers, and their fundraisers need to listen to their donors.
It’s the best way to retain your best fundraisers and your best donors.
Jim Langley is the president of Langley Innovations. Langley Innovations provides a range of services to its clients to help them understand the cultural underpinnings of philanthropy and the psychology of donors and, with that knowledge, to develop the most effective strategies and tactics to build broader and more lasting communities of support. Jim has authored numerous books including his most recent book, The Future of Fundraising: Adapting to New Philanthropic Realities, published by Academic Impressions in 2020.
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