Continental Divide Sign

It’s truly a shame when there is a strong division between fundraising staff and program staff.  Aren’t we all working toward the same mission?  Don’t we realize that programs don’t exist without successful fundraising and that fundraising is irrelevant without successful programs?!?

I’m so glad that I found Heidi Massey‘s guest post on Pamela Grow’s blog.  Her perspective indicates that there are program staff who recognize this underlying tension in nonprofit organizations and also want to do something about it.

As a fundraiser, this is one of my top priorities: to cultivate positive relationships with program staff.  There are several strategies I use to reach out to the program departments.

  1. Be proactive in getting to know program staff.  Ask for a meeting to share about personal and professional interests.  Consider a lunch outside of the office – to reinforce the casual nature of the conversation.
  2. Maintain open communication by engaging in discussion often.  When making a fundraising decision, think about which program staff should be involved.
  3. Brainstorm ideas together – leveraging the differing perspectives offered by fundraisers and program staff.  Emphasize the importance of program staff’s contributions.
  4. Ask questions and speak intentionally about professional needs and expectations.  Don’t assume anything about communication or decision-making.

What do you do to bring fundraising and program staff members together?  Please leave a comment with your idea for addressing this toxic tension in nonprofit organizations.

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