Spread the Good

Like a lot of you, I subscribe to numerous listservs serving the nonprofit space. Advance-L, PRSPCT-L (and yes, every time I type that, I do sing it –in my head – to the tune of that Aretha classic), CFRNET, FUNDSVCS – the list goes on and on. And of course with Twitter, I have created my own listserv of sorts – following (including Twitter lists others have created) other Tweeps with similar interests to my own.

One aspect of listservs which intrigues me is the title contained in the posting – not the subject title, but the poster’s job title. This morning, someone posted with a question regarding database conversion and whether or not anyone had a calendar of events or a checklist of tasks they had found to be helpful in the process.  This person’s title? Director of Mission Advancement & Donor Stewardship. I absolutely LOVE the insertion of the word mission before the word advancement. David and I (along with numerous colleagues who we also are fortunate to call friends) have long said if you work at a nonprofit or any fundraising organization, you are a FUNDRAISER. Period. End of story. Your job at said organization is always to advance the mission of your organization. Now, I do understand, not everyone can have the title of “fundraiser” – would get a bit confusing internally in terms of management. We have always distinguished between frontline fundraiser vs. “behind the scenes” fundraiser. However, I do believe this title – Director of Mission Advancement – is onto something. Typically, the title would have been something like “Director of Advancement Relations” or “Director of Advancement Services.” Relations and services – nothing against these words – have the connotation of internal tasks. Perhaps even translated into function: Director of Making Sure Gift Acknowledgement Letters Go Out the Door Correctly and IT Plays Well With Others and Research Finds the Right Prospects to Meet Our Dollar Goal and the Gala Event Caterer Does Not Serve Mr/Ms/Miss/Dr Benefactor Red Meat. When someone has the title of “fundraiser” there is no guess work externally or internally. That’s pretty straight forward. The way in which Director of Mission Advancement and Donor Stewardship clearly articulates the focus of this person’s job is exactly where it should be – the organization’s mission AND its donors.

Mission Advancement – I believe this should be universal within a nonprofit. Each position plays a specific instrumental part in advancing the mission of the organization. As a manager of prospect research, this was my mantra, “How does what I am being asked to do contribute toward advancing the mission of my organization?”

How does your role contribute to mission advancement? Does every task you undertake work towards your contribution to this goal?

PS There is still time to sign up for our webinar! Give yourself the gift of learning additional techniques to advance your mission!

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