Managing employee turnover is never easy. This is especially true in the case of nonprofit fundraisers. With the average fundraiser’s tenure being a short 18 months combined with an already over-extended team, this complex and prevalent staff retention issue impacts the ability of countless organizations to successfully fuel their mission.
There are steps nonprofits can take to prevent turnover, but sometimes people retire or move on to new opportunities regardless of the work environment. Losing a key member of the team is daunting, but steps can be taken to prepare for employee attrition by creating a transition plan. A written plan helps reduce the learning curve of new fundraising staff, supports the continuation of services and minimizes adverse effects on organizational growth.
A walk in the shoes of future fundraisers is a great way to begin to build your transition plan. When you answer (and document) the following four questions, you will save the team valuable onboarding time and set your organization up for success tomorrow.
1. What’s our fundraising strategy?
Is every employee in the organization aware of your fundraising goals and campaigns? If they don’t know, who do they ask to find the answer? Your fundraising team! The fundraising team builds the yearly plan and timeline of the organization’s events, campaigns, and other initiatives. This calendar is a result of mapping out your fundraising strategy into a fundraising plan. A fundraising plan is a way to document your goals into actionable steps that your development team can execute to achieve fundraising success.
Putting your plan on paper empowers both employees and key stakeholders to understand the goals and the ‘why’ behind them. And, it sets up the entire organization to successfully participate in fundraising. If your team doesn’t have a written plan, our template can help get you started.
2. Who’s who?
Starting on day one, a new fundraiser should know who makes up their team. Technology has made this easy to do, but only if the information is kept up to date. Your employee and CRM databases should be regularly reviewed for accuracy and custom fields added to clearly identify roles or responsibilities. An up-to-date board of directors roster complete with committee and affinity group members should be shared. And, of course, an employee organizational chart, staff contact sheet, and important community partners should also be routed.
3. What is your CRM?
Inheriting a donor management system can feel overwhelming. To make the process of learning and evaluating the new system easier, ensure that at least one other person in your organization is an account administrator and billing contact. Take time to document your data entry procedures, highlight key reports, and know how to access help resources, including the customer success team contacts at your CRM provider.
Remember, the software provider’s customer success team is a vital resource and can provide training, product knowledge, and best practices to support a seamless transition for your new fundraiser.
Bloomerang makes it easy to manage donor and raise more funds!
4. How are gifts processed?
How is gift processing different when you get a check versus an online donation? What about a pledge or a bequest? When should gifts be acknowledged and by whom? If you use multiple systems or portals, this is where things can get tricky. Like with the CRM, make sure there are additional account administrators and that passwords are saved securely. Think through your day-to-day processes and write them down. Every. Single. Step.
Thoroughly documenting the process will ensure that every intended donation gets processed correctly, acknowledgement receipts are provided, personalized stewardship plans continue, and your mission powers forward…uninterrupted.
Ready for change
Conversations about the possible future absence of a fundraising team member can be uncomfortable, but preparation can make an unexpected departure or extended leave of absence less bumpy. A way to minimize the potential awkwardness of the conversation is to implement a similar plan for all key roles, including Executive Director, Head of Operations, and Program Director.
It is also important to acknowledge why you are choosing to invest valuable time to build a transition plan. The documentation of critical information will allow a new fundraiser to quickly get up to speed with little interruption of workflow. Ultimately good succession planning promotes the stability of the organization, the wellbeing of those it serves, and relationships with donors. A goal that unites all.
How Bloomerang can prepare you
Whether you are experiencing fundraiser turnover right now, thinking about the future, or simply curious about how your organization can improve its processes, Bloomerang is here for you. Committed to helping you thrive, Bloomerang provides all customers a Customer Success Manager and unlimited access to an award-winning support team. Nonprofits using Bloomerang can also unlock access to a dedicated expert with fundraising experience and deep product knowledge to help support fundraising success.
Not with Bloomerang? We have a wealth of resources, guides, and webinars available for free. And if you’re ready for a new partner to help you succeed, contact our team today!