The Limited Returns on Fundraising Support for Nonprofits

How can a funder move beyond wishful thinking and achieve a high yield through fundraising support?

When thinking about strengthening nonprofit fundraising capacity, many foundations believe in the old adage, “Give a person a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a person to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” They wish, “If we could only improve nonprofits’ ability to generate revenues, then they would become more resilient…and less reliant on us.” Most nonprofits concur: “Just fund a development director position for us,” they implore, “and it will pay for itself in a year, enabling us not just to survive but to thrive.” Fundraising advisors encourage this support too. At the Council on Foundations annual conference in April, Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, proclaimed to a ballroom full of grantmakers, “We should be capitalizing on the multiplication potential by funding the fundraising operations that can fund the programs.” He contended that investment—whether it’s in a major gift campaign, a planned giving or special event program, or the expansion of development staff—consistently generates a positive return.

The case for leveraging philanthropic dollars by fortifying nonprofits’ fundraising capability seems like a no-brainer. But is it? According to a new study that TCC Group is conducting of the Packard Foundation’s support for nonprofit capacity-building activities, the answer is no. Since 1997, the Packard Foundation has awarded 1,392 “organizational effectiveness” grants to an array of groups, most of which have annual operating budgets of $1 to $10 million, and operate in the human services, environmental conservation, population, and arts fields. Packard recently surveyed 274 of these grantees from 2007-2009 (grant amounts ranged between $7,000 and $160,000) and analyzed the responses from 169 (a 62% response rate) to ascertain the outcomes. (To see and comment on the comprehensive set of results, visit the foundation’s wiki.) One finding really jumped out at us: Grantees that concentrated on improving fund development capacity reported inferior longer-term outcomes compared to those that focused on strategic planning, organizational learning, or leadership succession. They were not as likely to have met their grant objectives and described lower levels of sustainability of their grant results, as well as less impact on program services.

Essentially, the work was more transactional than transformational.

This evidence is consistent with other research on nonprofit organizational performance that TCC Group has conducted over the past few years. When we analyzed the results of almost 700 nonprofits nationwide that had taken the Core Capacity Assessment Tool survey, and then, through regression analysis, identified the key drivers for those that scored highest on financial sustainability, we determined that fundraising capacity was indeed a substantial factor—but predominantly when combined with robust internal leadership and programmatic learning (see “The Sustainability Formula” report). Likewise, our study last year of 263 nonprofits in Los Angeles County for the Weingart Foundation (see “Fortifying L.A.’s Nonprofit Organizations”) found that fund-development capacity-building tended to lead more to individual knowledge and motivation, while organizational assessment, strategic planning, and board leadership development were more likely to result in institutional change. Fundraising capacity is essential—even a nonprofit with the highest impact programs will not last without it—yet it needs to happen in conjunction with solid leadership and organizational learning.

Although fund development assistance can be beneficial in certain circumstances, it is not a panacea. Oftentimes, fundraising difficulties are a symptom of a deeper underlying problem—such as poor program quality or a checked-out board—that must be addressed beforehand. Funders can help a nonprofit conduct an organizational assessment at the outset so that it can become more self-aware, and can better understand its organizational development needs and priorities and its readiness to undertake change. A foundation also needs to strive to invest in nonprofits that have the most effective programs. In some communities and fields, the potential funding pool may not be able to expand much—meaning that providing development assistance to a select set of nonprofits may cause others to receive fewer resources. 

Fundraising support also has to go beyond plans and translate to concrete action. In the Packard survey and other recent research, TCC discovered that the biggest challenge that nonprofits face with capacity building is implementing the often first-rate strategies that are devised. In other words, too much grantmaker support for nonprofit organizational development is geared for “ready, set,” and not enough for “go.” A fundraising consultant, for instance, may provide top-notch training and an excellent development plan to a nonprofit, but the board and staff leaders might not be engaged or equipped enough to effectively execute it. TCC has learned that the foremost implementation assistance is ongoing action-oriented learning, peer exchange, coaching, real-time tools, and hands-on support to act on wise counsel and get the good work done. 

So, how can a funder move beyond wishful thinking and achieve a high yield through fundraising support? The “book-ends” of any type of capacity-building activity—the upfront diagnosis and the backside implementation assistance—are imperative and frequently neglected. Sufficient program quality and leadership are prerequisites; if they are lacking, they should be enhanced first. An investment made in fundraising capacity will likely have a greater impact if it goes beyond just building technical skills and management abilities, and is holistically integrated with organization-wide activities related to learning, adapting, developing leadership, and decision-making. In a vacuum, it can be marginal. The best work is embraced by a reflective board and staff leaders alike, and is embedded in the organization’s culture and business model.

The Packard Foundation and TCC Group are still in the midst of making meaning from the data through an open “learning in public” process, so please share your comments here or via the wiki and contribute to the collective intelligence. Do you disagree with any of our interpretations? What has been your experience with the efficacy of foundation support for building nonprofit fundraising capability?

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  • BY Maggy Fouche

    ON July 7, 2011 12:56 PM

    Very interesting findings - surprising at first, but eminently reasonable once you think about it. In my experience as a board member I’ve found that foundations are relunctant to fund staff positions, even development ones, to begin with. It concerns me that sometimes their timetables call for measureable results in a a short period, like year, while the reality is that it can take a non-profit longer to truly effect the changes that are required. That’s why sometimes they are willing to fund the consultant who comes in, does a quick training, and then leaves - the result is a wonderful plan that then is up to the organization to implement. And in many of these cases, as you point out, they may not be prepared to execute it fully. I’d like to see foundations be more invested in long-term (three year+) institutional capacity building, especially if the evidence points to that as the best way to financial stability.

  • BY Mazarine Treyz, Author of The Wild Woman's Guide t

    ON July 7, 2011 04:23 PM

    Dear Paul,

    I’m glad you addressed the fact that funding fundraising does not help as much as funding leadership succession and organizational issues.

    What drives fundraisers away from nonprofits is bad leadership. There. I said it. There’s really not a lot you can do when your leaders refuse to fundraise, and put all of the pressure on to you. If you look crack open Dan Pallotta’s book, uncharitable, he recommends that ALL people in the nonprofit think of themselves as fundraisers, or brand ambassadors for the organization, and comport themselves as such. This can take the pressure off the fundraising professional and increase revenues exponentially.

    I would like to see a study where funders look at creating structures inside an organization, that is standardized systems for each section of the nonprofit, to help people get their work done more quickly, and then help them plug into areas of fundraising that they are comfortable with. 

    I would like to show every nonprofit staff person that fundraising is everyone’s responsibility.

    It is incredible to me how in so many nonprofits people don’t seem to want to accept that if fundraising doesn’t happen, their mission will not go forward, and then they won’t have a job. It should be foremost on everyone’s minds, and everyone should be pulling together to get more donor relationships for the nonprofit.

    I think the answer should be, not fund fundraising OR organizational strategy and leadership succession, but we should fund fundraising AND strategy and succession planning.



  • Ademir Pacheco's avatar

    BY Ademir Pacheco

    ON July 8, 2011 06:59 AM

    Trabalho em uma Sociedade Mineira de engenheiros- SME, onde efetuamos eventos, palestras para engenheiros e estudantes de engenharia.
    Nossa entidade e sem fins lucrativos.
    sobrevivemos de patrocinios e colaboraçao de associados nossa luta diaria e muito dificil pois como foi comentado pelo Sr. Paul Connolly e muito dificil conseguir dinheiro no Brasil para darmos sequencia aos nossos projetos.
    No dia a dia nao sabemos como arrumar verba para darmos sequencia aos custos fixo de nossos funcionarios que cuidam da manutençao de nossa sociedade.
    Gostaria de saber esperiencias que poderiam nos ajudar.
    Ademir Pacheco
    Coordenador Administrativo e Financeiro

    Tradução do português para inglês
    Working in a Society of Mining Engineers-SME, where we made events, lectures for engineers and engineering students.
    Our non-profit entity.
    survived the sponsorship and collaboration of members and our daily struggle very hard because as has been reviewed by Mr. Paul Connolly, and very difficult to get money in Brazil to give sequence to our projects.
    In everyday life we do not know how to get money to give sequence to fixed costs of our employees who care for the maintenance of our society.
    I wonder experiences that could help us.
    Ademir Pacheco
    Administrative and Financial Coordinator

  • rahuntfdn's avatar

    BY rahuntfdn

    ON July 8, 2011 07:53 AM

    I worked at a large community foundation for a number of years, and this is right on point with what we more informally discovered.  We looked at a series of grants we had made for fundraising capacity—many were 2- and 3-year grants—and realized that even highly qualified fundraising coaching and staffing didn’t overcome larger board and CEO leadership, budget framing, and organizational culture challenges.  As importantly, it helped our staff realize we weren’t as good at organizational capacity assessment as we thought we were.

  • BY Rene Morrissette, Assistant Director

    ON July 8, 2011 08:17 AM

    Long term funding of development staff could prove an amazing asset.  As a small ($450,000 budget, 4 staff) organization, development costs are already a substantial portion of our annual expenses.  Most of the ongoing fundraising work (direct mail campaigns, grants) is done by me, with the executive director and board (and me, again) work on special events.  But my primary responsibility is program.  On two occasions we did hire development directors - for a capital campaign and for general fund development.  In both cases the results were less than stellar, while the significant increase in our development costs reflected badly on financial reports.  And let’s face it, with such a small budget we simply cannot afford to bring on the type of person with the experience and skills needed to train and motivate the board and staff, or the connections needed to strengthen major giving.
    I have not heard of/found a foundation that is willing to invest the time and resources needed to make a genuine and lasting difference toward the healthy growth of our organization.  We do amazing work with the resources at hand, and even with the economic conditions that continue to exist we have been able to keep level funding.  But growth - that is going to take some serious outside help.

  • BY Nell Edgington

    ON July 8, 2011 09:56 AM


    I think you make a really important point that you cannot simply fund fundraising capacity and expect that to transform an organization. As a management consultant to nonprofits I refuse to help them create a fundraising plan without first doing an organizational assessment because fundraising success is completely dependent on other aspects of the organization (board leadership, mission and vision, strategy, marketing, etc).

    However, I caution you about taking the argument too far, particularly in your title “The Limited Returns on Fundraising Support for Nonprofits.” We certainly don’t want funders to think that they shouldn’t be investing in fundraising capacity. To the contrary, we need more funders to understand how critical fundraising infrastructure is to a well-functioning nonprofit. So while I absolutely agree that you can’t just invest in fundraising capacity alone, we do need to help educate funders that we need to be investing in building organizations, including fundraising capacity. So many funders are hesitant to to invest in fundraising, or organization building in general, that I would hate the message from this research to be that those few that do are going to receive low returns.

    Rather I would like to see more case studies about nonprofits that have encouraged donors to become organization builders and how those investments have transformed their organization, like this one:

  • BY Daniel F. Bassill, President, Tutor/Mentor Connect

    ON July 8, 2011 03:19 PM

    I think this is not an either/or proposition. Helping non profits build organizational strength makes sense. Helping them expand the capacity to raise the money needed to build organizational strength is part of that process.

    However, I’d like to expand the thinking on this.  In Chicago there are over 400,000 school-age youth and at least half live in high poverty areas.  Most attend poorly performing schools which are as much a victim of the poverty in the neighborhoods as the kids.  If you believe that high-quality non-school tutor/mentor learning centers are a value, then how many of these programs would be needed to have a few serving every age group available in the 50 community areas with the highest poverty?  The number could be several hundred.

    If most of these are independent non profit organizations can we expect each to have a board with all of the leadership attributes that are expected on effective boards, with the civic reach members of board need in order to attract philanthropic investment on an on-going basis?  I don’ think there are enough people with these qualities to spread that far. Thus, the number and distribution of tutor/mentor programs in different high poverty neighborhoods will be less than ideal.

    When I was an advertising manager at a large retail store corporation we had teams in the corporate HQ who worked to help our 400 stores have well trained people, the right mix of merchandise, clean and well designed stores and advertising that drew customers to each store.

    I’d like to see the philanthropic and political leadership of big cities act as a “virtual board of directors” working to make sure each tutor/mentor program had the staff and volunteer leadership they need, along with the ideas, technology and operating dollars…and the advertising that draws volunteers and donors to each of these programs.

    While my example focuses on tutor/mentor programs I believe that it applies to any social benefit category where many independent operators are need to be located close enough to where clients live for service to be readily available.

    While some might see this as a call for consolidation, I think that the local ownership and commitment of a few people to the youth in their program is the key ingredient to what makes such programs successful. However such people need to stay involved in these programs for decades or more.  That might be more likely if there were city-wide systems of support lowering their costs to operate and innovating ways to help them have resources needed to grow to be good, then great, then stay great for many years.

  • Paul Connolly, TCC Group's avatar

    BY Paul Connolly, TCC Group

    ON July 8, 2011 04:12 PM

    Thanks for your comments!  I want to share my responses.

    First, Nell, I agree wholeheartedly that this argument should NOT be taken so far that funders decide to not invest AT ALL in fund development capacity.  As I state above, “fundraising capacity is essential ... yet it needs to happen in conjunction with solid leadership and organizational learning.”  My point is that fundraising capacity support needs to be given carefully, with consideration of the holistic organizational development context.

    So, Mazarine, I concur that funders should support fundraising capacity AND – not OR – strategy and leadership.  And I share your view that program executives must see fundraising as an integral part of their jobs, rather than “dirty work” that “someone else” should do.  The best program leaders understand that designing and making the case for an effective program is essential to attracting revenues to support the work.  And it is in the interest of program staff to document positive outcomes and tell compelling outcome-oriented stories that can be shared with donors.

    Rene, you said that you do not know of any foundation that invests the necessary time and resources to create lasting results in nonprofit organizational performance.  I agree that, unfortunately, most funders do not do this as skillfully as they should.  However, some ARE doing it well, including the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, with a set of youth development organizations; the James Irvine Foundation, with a cohort of mid-sized arts organizations in California; the Deaconess Foundation, with several St. Louis-based human service agencies; and the Wilburforce Foundation, with a portfolio of environmental conservation organizations in the West.  Grantmakers for Effective Organizations ( has information about other funders that invest wisely in nonprofit organizational capacity and scaling.   

    Finally, the comment above from the Hunt Foundation notes the difficulties of nonprofit organizational assessment.  “A Funder’s Guide to Organizational Assessment” by Carol Lukas is an excellent book on this topic.  Also, the paper “Deeper Capacity Building for Greater Impact” ( covers the subject and you can find more information at  I hope these resources are helpful.

  • Mark Rubin/Amateur fund development person and boa's avatar

    BY Mark Rubin/Amateur fund development person and boa

    ON July 9, 2011 07:45 AM

    Thanks for provocative thoughts.  I am presently helping a public school district foundation deal with hiring a development person, who will be the foundation’s first employee.  (A part-time bookkeeper position has been filled, butt he person has only done bookkeeping.)  A big issue has been the board’s readiness to go beyond being a volunteer-managed organization.  One notion put forward has been to hire a development consultant in lieu of an employee.  The problem, as I see it, is the lack of a staff “focal point” for volunteers.  Without a “go to” person who is accountable, I think the ability of volunteers to be effective is limited. 

    The study to which you refer seems to involve organizations with sufficient critical mass to have at least one professional employee.  Where there is no one on the payroll, I think the case for not funding a position—and requiring development experience and expertise—is harder to make.  Yes, in a bigger organization there may be issues that require attention before anyone can expect to be successful in raising money, but when you have a bunch of volunteers, a staff person who can guide them may be the difference between success and failure.

  • Mayra Nunez's avatar

    BY Mayra Nunez

    ON July 12, 2011 06:06 PM

    Hello Paul. You make a good point on raising funs for nonprofit organisations, however if it is a non profit organization can you explain to me how the executive director of one of the biggest non profit organisation in New york City is making more than $650,000 year salary while his employees with twelve years in the company are making no more than $33,000 a year?

  • Jerry Yoshitomi's avatar

    BY Jerry Yoshitomi

    ON July 14, 2011 05:51 PM

    Right on the mark.  Congratulations on an excellent commentary.

  • Shiree Teng, consultant to NGOs and Foundations's avatar

    BY Shiree Teng, consultant to NGOs and Foundations

    ON July 14, 2011 07:23 PM

    I don’t know of one single NGO that would say fundraising support is not a high priority. Therefore, I find Paul’s post and TCC Group’s preliminary finding on fundraising to lack the nuance that we need to really understand this data. It’s almost dangerous to say “fundraising doesn’t yield the high return as other types of capacity building.” We might be doing the sector a real disservice if this early finding is not much more nuanced.

    I’ve been making OE grants to support Packard Foundation grantees for 13 years now. Over this time, many have been fundraising grants. And, as a practitioner, I was in West Virginia last week working with a group that’s fighting mountain top removal to build a major donor and fundraising strategy.

    What I’ve learned working on the ground to support NGO capacity is this: NGOs need to be clear on (1) its organizational identity (who are we? what do we do? who are our core constituents?); (2) body of practice (programs, services, strategies, theory of change); and (3)impact in the world (how do we know we’ve made a difference? what have we learned about what works?

    Once these identity-related questions are clear, then there needs to be a communications strategy in place to reach its targeted audiences.

    And, then only then, can fundraising effectively be launched. Otherwise, NGOs have to backtrack and answer these questions. The same goes for communications.

    What the data is suggesting are a few things: (1) we, as funders, need to do a better job at making sure NGOs have those pieces in place before embarking on a fundraising effort; (2) consultant workplans or NGO self-identified goals need to be more realistic and not over-reach; (3) fundraising results are much more quantifiable than strategic planning or board development (you either met your $1M goal or you didn’t) so it’s easy to be harsher on these results than other types of capacity building efforts.

    Let’s not be so conclusive with this finding about fundraising without the nuance that it deserves. Provocative? Yes. But if funders, especially ones who may be new to capacity building, take this as a conclusion, then we’re really doing the sector and the field of capacity building a disservice.

  • BY Brady Josephson

    ON July 14, 2011 08:06 PM

    Good article. At first I was getting ready to fire back but the more I read the more it made sense and seems completely reasonable. Organizations as a whole need funding and development, simple. If nonprofits were not constrained by the “overhead” joke/issue (which includes compensation Mayra) then what would the effect of funding fundraising be? Even with great funding, charities need to watch and monitor how much they actually spend so as to not attract attention and ward off donors. If there were no ceiling or cap, maybe this investment in revenue generating activities would yield more results that we can imagine.

    Your point, however, would remain true. Leadership, strategy, management and other core components of organizations will always remain vital to success and impact.


  • BY Don Crocker, CEO, Support Center

    ON July 18, 2011 07:56 AM


    Great article and no surprise that we at the Support Center agree with your comments.  We have actively been utilizing the CCAT in our assessment work and our experience is in-synch with your statement that fundraising capacity (and other capacities as well) are enhanced when fueled by “robust internal leadership and programmatic learning”  Our experience, too, is that up-front diagnosis and the backside implementation assistance (we call it “high engagement, hands-on help) are critical but frequently neglected.

    The engagement of strong leadership (staff and board) is critical to success in capacity building and a baseline of quality and “learning” in programming is essential to any capacity building effort.  Virtually every grantmaker I’ve spoken with wishes for “greater effectiveness and enhanced outcomes” in their grantmaking.  A commitment on the part of these grantmakers to understand and invest in “effective” capacity building is key to the well-being of nonprofit sector and the neighborhoods and communities they serve.

    I applaud the work of the TCC Group (and also Grantmakers for Effective Organizations -GEO) along these lines and wish you continued success!

    Don Crocker, CEO
    The Support Center

  • Paul Connolly's avatar

    BY Paul Connolly

    ON July 18, 2011 09:52 AM

    Thanks, Shiree, for your challenging comments – candid disagreement helps fuel progress. I completely agree that it would be dangerous to say that “fundraising doesn’t yield the high return as other types of capacity building.”  And, just to be clear, I didn’t say that.  I said that fundraising capacity should not only be a high priority, but is essential.  As I noted in my July 8th “Stanford Social Innovation Review” blog comment: 

    “I agree wholeheartedly that this argument should NOT be taken so far that funders decide to not invest AT ALL in fund development capacity.  As I state above, “fundraising capacity is essential ... yet it needs to happen in conjunction with solid leadership and organizational learning.”  My point is that fundraising capacity support needs to be given carefully, with consideration of the holistic organizational development context ... I concur that funders should support fundraising capacity AND – not OR – strategy and leadership.”

    So, I share your view that a strong organizational identity, body of practice, and impact measurement system are key elements in a recipe for fundraising success.  And I would add that board and staff leadership is the crucial ingredient that integrates and makes—or breaks—them.  Fundraising should not take a back seat to these other elements, nor should it take the front seat—it should sit side-by-side with them.

    We are still in the midst of making meaning of these findings through a public learning process before finalizing our analysis.  Last week, we had two rich discussion groups with consultants and foundation staff to discuss the data and interpret it together.  During these sessions, some of your concerns were also raised by others, especially related to excessively high expectations for fundraising results and how it is easier to measure falling short.  Participants also pointed out—quite justifiably!—that these findings were probably influenced by the recent economic recession and difficult fundraising climate.  Someone else observed that certain organizational effectiveness grants for fundraising might not have been highly efficacious if they were made mostly as part of a guilt-tinged exit strategy.  And we have recently compiled and analyzed more of such qualitative data as the open-ended responses from those who took the survey, so we will look more carefully at that to see how it relates to the quantitative survey data. 

    The survey findings are ringing true for some and less so for others.  What are some other nuanced interpretations that we might be overlooking?

  • BY Dan Pallotta

    ON July 18, 2011 11:54 AM


    Great discussion and wish I had time for a longer response. Three issues at play for me that could the results you quote - vetting process, nurturing process, and fundraising experience of the grantmakers. In my COF talk I made an analogy to the venture capital crowd. We have to take a VC approach; 1) We can’t just give money away for fundraising without a serious vetting of the plans and the players and their track records; 2) We can’t give the money and then walk away, without any mentoring/support, and 3) You can’t vet or mentor/support if it isn’t your discipline - so you can’t have program officers practiced at making program grants all of a sudden making fundraising grants and expect to get a stellar result - they simply don’t have the relevant experience.

  • BY Judy Levine, ED, Cause Effective

    ON July 20, 2011 12:39 PM

    Paul -

    As an agency with 30 years of practice in building transformative capacity for fundraising, we at Cause Effective have a lot to say about this, as you might imagine! 

    First off, what kind of capacity is being addressed?  Grants to fund a development director position may increase the volume of fundraising activity but do not necessarily increase the breadth of people within a nonprofit who are engaged in a identifying and stewarding donors. 

    And what is being measured in this evaluation - is it simply gross dollars raised within a specific time period, or are evaluators looking at more subtle (yet more long-lasting) indicators of fundraising consultancy impact such as increased amount and diversity of solicitors; greater range of gift size; segmented approach to market development, etc.?

    Another question to consider: Is what is being looked at true capacity-building consulting, or extra/expert-pair-of-hands consulting - which is rampant in fundraising?  (I am actually passionate enough about this distinction that I just wrote about it in this week’s

    We see true capacity-building fundraising consulting as squarely targeting the heart of a nonprofit’s relationship with the “outside world” - as creating a greater universe of people responsible for social impact at the heart of nonprofit mission.

  • Paul Connolly, TCC Group's avatar

    BY Paul Connolly, TCC Group

    ON July 21, 2011 04:05 PM

    Thanks, Judy, for your comments and questions. 

    In terms of what was measured, the main source of data was the responses to a survey that Packard sent to a set of its grantees.  TCC Group shared with Packard only an aggregate summary of the responses, so the foundation did not see the individual replies.  To examine the survey and detailed findings, you can visit the foundation’s wiki (see the link in my original post above)—there is a LOT of information to delve into there if you want to!  Dollars raised were not measured.

    The nature of the grants to support fundraising capacity varied and included such activities as creating a fund development plan and training and engaging board and staff in fundraising efforts.  These grants were not focused on supporting the ongoing costs of a Development Director or an “extra pair of hands.”  In addition to these organizational effectiveness grants, Packard makes large general operating support grants to some of these grantees which can be used in a more flexible manner.

    Hope this clarifies….

  • Janet Milbury Borg, Biz Workx's avatar

    BY Janet Milbury Borg, Biz Workx

    ON July 26, 2011 11:04 AM

    This issue confronts every NPO I work with as a consultant.

    What role do you see job titles and job duties playing in creating “silos” in the organization?

    I find that a healthy board and staff all share the responsibility of donor stewardship and participate in the org’s programs. (yes, easier said than done)

    When the DOD or fundraising professional takes time to include the Program Director, ED, support staff and others in the full range of the grant writing/award/evaluation/report process, the organization grows stronger.

    Shared ownership of the granting process is effective.

    Silos are not.

  • BY Gayle Gifford, ACFRE Cause & Effect Inc.

    ON July 28, 2011 09:05 AM

    A question that I have is: how big was the investment in building fundraising capacity? Most of the capacity investment that I’ve seen is very tiny—maybe a development director, maybe coaching and mentoring for that one person, maybe fundraising audits and plans. But I’ve heard of very few examples where funders have created significant capacity in fundraising… not one development staff, but maybe five to 10. NFF has a case study of the Steppenwolf Theatre where philanthropy didn’t really take off until they put a dozen people into their fund development department.

    It would be very interesting to me to see a study that tracks the size of fund development departments with the amount of revenues secured by organizations.

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