The best advancement teams are an integration of role-specific professionals. From advancement services, to development, to constituent relations, to communications, high-functioning teams recognize both the specific functional roles of each team member as well as the integration among all those roles and members.
On the other hand, focusing all team members, regardless of role, on development (i.e., fundraising) outcomes can move a team toward a level of assimilation that is both unhelpful and morale-busting for team members.
Role assimilation – or team members foregoing their functional specificity for a singular focus – can be a sneaky evolution. For instance, I’ve sat with alumni relations professionals who have stated their role has morphed over time into a quasi-frontline fundraising position. If they can’t directly show a charitable giving return on investment for each of their planned activities and events, those plans may not be realized.
When the assimilated focus of all advancement efforts is designed to directly address the question, “how much money are we raising?” we will not raise nearly as much as we could. And, most likely, team members will eventually teeter on the edge of burn out.
However, when we emphasize the diversified roles and functions of advancement, value every team member, and aim consistently to integrate their skills, talents, and abilities into a cohesive fabric of engagement, we will raise far more money.
And, team members will report more satisfaction, confidence, and ownership in the results.