Can you afford NOT to invest in fundraising?

Every day, leaders of nonprofit organizations struggle with the same question…where do I invest our resources knowing that we have a limited budget?  No matter how large or small your nonprofit may be, this question rings true.  This is especially challenging as you consider how to invest donor dollars in your organization.  The need to support mission-based programs exists every day.  What about the operations?  How does a CEO or Executive Director determine when it is appropriate to invest in the infrastructure and/or operations?

The answer lies in the potential return on that investment.  I would argue that the greatest potential return from an investment within a nonprofit exists within Development.  Fundraising has a quantifiable and justifiable return, yet many nonprofit leaders cringe at the idea of spending money to raise money. If I were to present you with a scenario where you could invest $.20 and receive $1.00, would you agree that is a good decision?  Of course you would!  Yet, when presented with the possibility of hiring Development staff, promoting a Development Officer to retain them, providing the proper database or administrative resources to your Development team which increases efficiencies, or working with a Consultant who has expertise in fundraising, the answer is generally NO.

There is a very transient nature within the Development industry as there are numerous opportunities for talented professionals across the country.  A recent study conducted by Reeher, a Blackbaud company, showed that less than 50% of Gift Officers nationally raised $500,000 or more in 2017. The reason for this is that many GO’s have not been in their current position long.  The average tenure for a Gift Officer is less than 3 years, yet the average time to secure a first major gift from a donor is 4.9 years.  How do organizations expect to obtain major funding when Development staff are constantly changing, or lack the resources necessary to effectively fundraise?  Imagine if organizations invested in Development at a level that caused higher retention, increased morale and provided appropriate resources to maximize philanthropic return.  That is exactly what you find in the highest performing nonprofit organizations across higher education, healthcare and human services.

Whether you are considering a campaign, or looking to increase your philanthropic revenue, investing in Development is necessary.  That can come in many forms and starts with a thorough analysis of your current operations and personnel, which is where Empreinte Consulting, LLC ( can help.  Our years of expertise in fundraising coupled with our familiarity with best practices in high performing nonprofits, can position your organization to maximize philanthropic revenue while creating a sustainable process.  At a time when nonprofits are under constant financial strain, an investment in Development can provide the return that will take your organization to new heights.  Ask yourself…can you afford NOT to invest in fundraising?

Marc Misiurewicz


Empreinte Consulting, LLC