In many organisations that I have worked with, I have noticed that sometimes fundraising job titles are different from the main functionality of the job or the fundraiser is not that happy with the title!
In my blogpost ‘What is Fundraising?’ I touched upon different types of fundraising, such as partnership, resources mobilisation, etc.
The most common traditional fundraising jobs titles include some of the following:
Fundraising (Director, manager, officer, etc.), Partnership (Director, manager, officer, etc.), Business Development (Director, manager, officer, etc.), Corporate Giving, Institutional Giving (Director, manager, officer, etc.) and so on.
Did you know that your job title might affect the ability to access your potential donors?
Russell James, a professor at Texas Tech University in the USA, found that fundraisers with traditional "institution-focused" job titles – such as "director of development" or "director of institutional advancement" – were less likely to be contacted by donors to discuss their donations than people with gift-centred or donor-centred alternatives (for example, “major gifts”) or donor-centred (for example, “donor advising”).
First of all, my advice to all organisations is this – DO NOT give a wrong title to any member of your staff, especially the fundraising team. Sometimes you will find that some of your fundraisers will ask for a higher title than their actual position, as they claim this might make it easier for them to secure meetings and access decision makers. While this could be true in many regions and countries, my advice is to stick to the original and true titles. You don’t want your teams to think at some point that they are more senior than they are, or eventually they will ask for a pay raise!
If this might present a challenge to them and affect their performance/KPIs, one way to tackle this issue would be grant access to fundraisers to send emails from the email account of a more senior member of the staff. Another option would be to provide a generic letter that can be signed by the senior staff, which the fundraiser can then customise according to whom they are writing to.
To end, the take away from today’s blog post is simple – make sure your fundraisers have the right job title, and make the title donor and gift-centred. In general, and as I have covered before in previous posts, as a fundraiser you have to make the donor feel that your role is to guide them, not just to extract funds!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. I love to hear from fellow fundraisers, so please make sure you let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.