February 26, 2010

Thank you, Marsha. Marsha is the chair of the Fund Development Committee at a New Haven organization. What a great metaphor: fund development as the dangling participle in an organization. I see it so vividly!

Fund development is the last item on the board or staff meeting agenda. No one really wants to serve on that committee. But everyone looks at that committee to see if the job is done. Too often, program staff don’t have time to talk with development and share stories.

For a while when I was a development director, my office was at the end of a dead-end hallway. No one ever passed that way. That was actually a great metaphor for how people felt about development. Skeptical. Suspicious. Uncomfortable. Just a necessary evil to get money for mission.

Hey out there! Hey you board members and marketing staff and program staff. That’s no way to treat fund development. Fund development is not some necessary unpleasant activity that provides you with the money to do your mission. Fund development is the essential partner of philanthropy – and philanthropy is beautiful.

Fund development – just like everything else in the organization – is part of the whole. The whole. No silos. Together we survive and together we fall. Fund development is not a dangling participle.

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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