Hiring, training, and retaining top-performing gift officers is a powerful way to drive the success of your fundraising organization, but it’s easier said than done. Creating a management environment where gift officers thrive and your fundraising capabilities are strong takes time, but a few small steps can set the ball in motion.
Create and Maintain a Focus
A shared focus and a common goal is at the heart of every high-performing fundraising operation. Your organization’s overarching goals should be made alongside college or university leadership and have buy-in at every level. These goals guide your strategy and dictate the projects of everyone on the fundraising team. Revisit these goals often to make sure that your day-to-day activities line up.
Formalize a Mentoring Program
Checking in with staff periodically, especially during their first year on the job, jump-starts their involvement with your organization and can help develop committed and knowledgeable fundraisers. Staff benefit from regular contact with other team members who are there to answer questions, give advice, and promote professional growth. If a team member happens to be under-performing, this relationship can help catch the problem and get the individual up to speed.
Make Time for Useful Training
Everyone benefits from training, no matter what stage of their career they’re in. Training can help individuals master new skills particular to their job, or can bring the office together around a topic of general interest. Training is an opportunity to telegraph to your team that you’re invested in their success with your organization, so chose training options wisely.
Foster a Sense of Commitment
Great fundraising teams share a sense of commitment to their mission which fuels their work together. It takes time and purposeful effort to create an environment where people are inspired to do their best in pursuit of a common goal. Great teams are made up of individuals who feel like their contributions matter. Setting clear expectations, investing in your staff, and celebrating their successes helps you develop a strong team and hire and retain top-performers.