July 7, 2013

Check out Pam Grow’s July 3 newsletter for small shop fundraising. Check it out even if you operate in a medium or large development office. This issue is about the workplace environment, workers in the workplace.

First, how sad that it’s a “problem” to enjoy your work. Just imagine: You can alienate co-workers when you like your job and actually demonstrate that you like your job. Pam offers important insights about that.

Then there’s the all-too-typical reaction from so many non-fundraising colleagues about what fundraisers do. The uppity distasteful attitude too many staff have towards fundraising. The “I-don’t-know-what-you-fundraisers-do-but-I’m-pretty-sure-it’s-bad-magic-and-slightly-unethical attitude. I remember that one! When I was a chief development officer, the marketing department actually called what we did a “dirty” activity and tried hard to avoid us. So little understanding of fundraising. No culture of philanthropy in the organization.

Then there was my CEO who, “for various reasons,” didn’t do doing anything about the situation. The Grow Report newsletter highlights that approach. Excuse me? How is that leadership on the part of the CEO?!

But I experienced that CEO approach, too. My CEO actually required that the development department and marketing department go to a counselor to talk about not getting along. With the counselor, the marketing department talked about friendship. I talked about professional behavior and collegial work relationships. The counselor told the marketing department to cut the crap, shape up, and behave like professionals. I wish my boss had told them that in the first place.

I think it’s the job of the development office to help build a culture of philanthropy in the organization. I think it’s the job of the development office to try hard to build the understanding and ownership of donor-centered operations, love of donors, impact by donors, fundraising ethics, etc. etc. blah blah blah.

Development officers must stand tall, walk proud, tell wonderful stories. And if the jerks continue to be jerks, ignore them. Well, and maybe advise your boss to deal with the situation or lose good staff. And that could be you!


Filed under: Nonprofit Management

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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