No one should have to go it alone.
All nonprofits—small and large—can benefit from a development committee to help share the work of fundraising.
A development committee has two primary purposes:
help ensure the board achieves its fundraising goals, and
build relationships on behalf of the nonprofit.
This support can take many forms. Development committee roles might include:
Sharing about the organization’s mission and impact as ambassadors in the community
Acting as champions for fund development amongst their board peers, which includes providing accountability on the board’s commitment to shared fundraising goals
Expanding organizational capacity: serving as volunteers and emissaries who make thank you calls, host small house parties, or even participate in solicitation meetings
Whether you have an existing development committee that needs reinvigoration, or you are building one from the ground up, here are some tips to help equip and engage volunteers for success:
Provide clarity. Give committee members a clear job description so they understand their role. As Brené Brown reminds us: “Clear is kind.”
Start with Why. Help connect committee members with their why—the reason they care about your organization’s mission—so they’re confident to serve as ambassadors.
Divide up the roles and responsibilities. Make sure the Finance Committee and Development Committee are two separate groups. They have distinct roles and require quite different skill sets.
Choose a leader carefully. Identifying the right Development Chair is of paramount importance. This individual should work closely with the organization’s top development officer, just as the ED should work closely with the Board Chair. (If you have a small development team—or are volunteer-led—this is especially important!)
Build a diverse group. Engage volunteers beyond board members on the Development Committee, as well as individuals who represent the diversity of the community in which you work. Having diverse committee volunteers involved not only expands your organization’s network, but it also may become a pipeline to identify future board members.
If you invest the time now to intentionally build or reenergize your development committee, you will have critical support, helpful thought partners, and connected community ambassadors to improve your fundraising results and expand your organization’s impact. The full team (staff, board and volunteers) will feel proud about the achievements—together!
Read Brené Brown's insights on why "Clear is Kind"
Teamwork photo by fauxels:on Pexels.