How Can Leaders Help Their Staff Succeed In Fundraising?

A Personal Confession From A Staff Leader To Fellow Staff Leaders

By Scott Morton, International Funding Coach, The Navigators

The setting is Wisconsin in the autumn with crisp oak leaves skidding across frozen lawns.  I had recently invited a young staff woman, “Ginny,” to move to Colorado Springs to serve on the International Office Team—a super career opportunity.  She was bright, skillful in administration, and eager.  As a Collegiate staff, part of her monthly support was raised, and she needed to raise only another $800. Cake!

We met at Godfather’s Pizza to review her fundraising plans.  No problems.  She hesitatingly asked a couple questions, but she seemed optimistic.  So, I sent her out with a triumphant prayer to the tobacco farms of southern Wisconsin to raise $800 from her acquaintances.

But two weeks later, she phoned from somewhere in southern Wisconsin; it sounded like she had been crying.  I quizzed her about her appointments, listened to her describe her disappointments, and then with an exhortation, I sent her back out to find more funding appointments.  Then I congratulated myself on being such a wise leader.

But I was wrong!

My attitude needed adjusting.  I believed that fundraising was her problem, not mine.  After all, the other staff in the Upper Midwest and I had to raise our support; now it was her turn.

Today my attitude is much different.  I now believe leaders must “own” their staffs’ fundraising.  Ignoring it is leadership abdication.  Even though you are busy with other grassfires, your staffs’ support level is part of your leadership role.

Don’t leave them alone in their toughest Navigator ministry.  Try these ideas:


- Go with your staff on fundraising appointments. You will learn more about them than sitting for hours over coffee. And they will appreciate your speaking on their behalf.
- Invite them to appeal to two of your donors. Will your giving partners drop you? No!
- Review their funding reports monthly and compare their current income with ttheir income of 12 months ago. Know the state of your flock (Proverbs 27:23).
- If they are behind in funding, don't wait until it is an emergency. Ask them specific questions, such as:

-What causes your year-to-date monthly income to be behind last year's?
-How much new support do you need?
-What is your plan to increase support?
-Show me your calendar. When will you raise this support?
-Do you have money to raise this support? It costs money to raise money. Like Nehemiah, give them "timber" such as gasoline or restaurant expenses.
-Ask them, "How can I help you?" 

Please don’t be overwhelmed by this “added responsibility.”  Start small and build on success. Your staff will love you for it!

Contact Scott via email at

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