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Why Retaining Your Nonprofit Staff Is Just As Important As Retaining Your Donors

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retaining your nonprofit staff

For the last four years I’ve run two online conferences that Bloomerang has sponsored, The Fundraising Career Conference and the Nonprofit Leadership Summit.

This means I’m a nonprofit worker advocate and I love helping you get the most out of your life through planning your career and asking for more.

It also means I love helping nonprofit staff learn how to fundraise. I love helping support leaders to understand fundraising and support their staff to fundraise more effectively.

Are you looking back on your fundraising results from the first three quarters and gearing up for your winter appeal?

You might be looking at your fundraising numbers for the first three quarters and shaking your head.

Your donors are not giving as often.

You’re wondering why funds are low.

But what’s BEHIND this problem?

Is it that your development staff person has the job of volunteer management, event director, grant manager, major gifts solicitor, sponsorships lead solicitor, development committee cheerleader, and part time receptionist?

Is it that you don’t have a good donor database to keep track of donors?

Is it possibly…

That you’ve had high turnover for the last 5 years? In a row?

Bloomerang makes software that helps your donors want to stay with you. Jay Love has even written a book called Stay Together. It makes clear what you lose when you don’t treat your donors like the treasures they are.

We even have a donor bill of rights from AFP now. That is all well and good.

What happens when you don’t provide the same rights to your staff?

Well… they see that you don’t actually care about them.

How you show your staff you don’t care:

  • Giving them 3 people’s jobs
  • Not giving them enough benefits like work from home options, vacation, or paid family leave
  • Underpaying people
  • Not providing cost-of-living wage increases
  • Telling people you’ll pay for their continuing education, and then not doing it
  • Telling folks to use ZoomCare for their healthcare.
  • Not managing them or giving them concrete metrics for their jobs
  • Yelling at them and making them cry
  • Encouraging a culture of working longer than an 8 hour work day

I could go on. But if you have a nonprofit that is engaging in any of these behaviors (And BELIEVE ME I have seen it) then you are telling the staff that you do not care about their health or well-being.

And then why would they want to stay with you?

BRAINWAVE: Jay Love’s concept of Stay Together is more than just about donors.

It’s about staff.

Donors get to know and like staff. When staff leave, donors wonder why. And if donors see staff leaving over and over, they’re going to get tired of having to build relationships over and over with new people.

If you’re having a donor retention problem, odds are, you’re having a problem retaining your nonprofit STAFF.

And until you solve it, nothing is going to change. You’re going to keep treading water with donor retention.

If you truly care about getting and KEEPING your donors, then stay together with your staff too.

But in order to get your staff to stay with you, you need to build trust.

Trust. How do you build trust with your staff? Here’s a webinar I taught for Bloomerang on this very topic. Watch it and let me know what you think!

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