How to Hang On to Top Fundraisers in a Hot Job Market

The Great Resignation is not a myth. It’s here.

On October 12, the Labor Department released its monthly Job Opens and Labor Turnover Survey. It showed that the number of job “quits” is clipping along at a record pace—nearly 4.3 million Americans have voluntarily walked away from their jobs this year.

One contributing factor is that there are so many job openings, giving employees confidence that they can land new, better and higher-paying jobs.

A Big Challenge for Nonprofits

Many nonprofits reduced staff at the start of the pandemic and may already be running lean. And now, during a hot job market, there’s an even greater chance that top-performing fundraisers will hear from recruiters or go in search of a new position themselves.

According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, search firms and recruiters are reporting nearly double the usual number of available positions at nonprofits. Not surprisingly, human resource departments are focusing just as heavily on retaining employees as they are on finding new ones.

5 Things To Do Right Now

Let’s face it, fundraising is a tough job. Your team was prone to burnout even before the pandemic, and they’re likely even more receptive to the siren call of recruiters now. So, what can you do?

  1. Listen, then act. Have frank conversations with your team members. Ask how they’re feeling about their role. Find out their biggest challenges and frustrations. Critical: The next step is to focus on giving them support where you can. Share any efforts you/the organization will take to alleviate these concerns.
  2. Get others involved. Fundraisers often feel isolated from other teams and can feel undue stress around financial goals. Make fundraising a team endeavor. The banking industry provides a good example: Every employee at every level can earn commissions and rewards by forwarding leads to sales teams.
  3. Minimize multitasking. Fundraisers often do everything from talking to donors to updating the website to writing news releases. It’s not practical and takes away from the time they need to reach financial goals. Find ways to let them focus on their core responsibilities, especially those that give the organization the most ROI and the fundraiser the greatest joy.
  4. Embrace remote work. If you haven’t already, embracing remote work will be key to employee retention. Find an approach that gives your fundraisers more control over their schedules and a way to balance their professional and personal lives.
  5. Offer career transparency. A study published by Lattice, a people management platform, claims to have discovered the key to hanging on to employees, especially younger members of the team, during these tough times. They say that employees want career transparency—not only a sense of where they stand on their jobs and how they can grow professionally, but also how their employer will support their efforts to reach their personal and professional goals. Talk with your fundraisers to identify and discuss their professional development goals. Make a growth plan together and invest in their professional development.

Your Next Steps

Listen, ask for help, reduce workload where you can and get flexible. These critical, simple actions can go a long way toward keeping your team together.

Where possible, give your team members a path forward that’s based on more than gift metrics. This way, you can retain top performers and become more attractive to new candidates at the same time.

Leave a Reply