A new national study, a joint project of CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, reveals that many nonprofits are stuck in a vicious cycle that threatens their ability to raise the resources they need to succeed. The study found high levels of turnover and lengthy vacancies in development director positions throughout the sector. More significantly, the study reveals deeper issues that contribute to instability in the development director role, including a lack of basic fundraising systems and inadequate attention to fund development among key board and staff leaders.
The report, UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising, is organized around three main challenges and concludes with a set of recommendations to jumpstart a national conversation about how we can all help nonprofits take their fund development to the next level. Key findings include:
REVOLVING DOOR: Instability in the Development Director Role
Organizations are struggling with high turnover and long vacancies in the development director position. Executive directors at organizations where the development director position was vacant said the positions had been open for an average of 6 months. Almost half (46%) reported vacancies even longer than that. Half of development directors (50%) said they expect to leave their current jobs in two years or less; and the rate was even higher for smaller organizations.
HELP WANTED: An Inadequate and Uneven Talent Pool
Organizations aren’t finding enough qualified candidates for development director jobs. Executives also report performance problems and a lack of basic fundraising skills among key development staff. Asked about the last time they tried to hire a new development director, more than half of executives (53%) said the search produced an insufficient number of candidates with the right mix of skills and experience.
IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN ONE PERSON: Lacking the Conditions for Fundraising Success
Beyond creating a development director position and hiring someone who is qualified for the job, organizations and their leaders need to build the capacity, the systems, and the culture to support fundraising success. The findings indicate that many nonprofits aren’t doing this. Significant numbers of development directors questioned the effectiveness of their organizations’ fundraising efforts.
BREAKING THE CYCLE: CALLS to ACTION
UnderDeveloped includes a set of urgent calls to action for the nonprofit executives, funders, and sector leaders to address the challenges detailed in the report. CompassPoint and Haas, Jr. Fund hope that the study becomes the spark for a national conversation about how to create thriving nonprofits that are able to raise the funds they need year in and year out to build and grow their programs.
Download - The full report including key findings and calls to action.
Join the National Conversation - For more information about UnderDeveloped and to sign up for the National Conversation about the Calls to Action, contact Marla Cornelius, CompassPoint, at 415.541.9000 x315 or email@example.com.
This post was written by Sarah Jo Neubauer, Training Coordinator, Foundation Center--San Francisco and originally appeared on their blog.