This is a sneak peek from the Summer 2020/21 issue of F&P, out on 1 December. In every issue Anthea Iva from Redstone Marketing asks three fundraisers their thoughts on a topical issue. Read on to find out what Christine Anderson, Head of Fundraising & Marketing at Variety – the Children’s Charity of Queensland, thinks.

The biggest threat to fundraising in 2021 is excluding fundraising from the proverbial boardroom. If your charity’s fundraising leader does not report to the CEO and isn’t part of the executive team, your organisation is missing the mark.

After a tumultuous year for many charities, it’s never been more crucial to ensure that fundraising leads from the front in 2021 and beyond if you want to build a culture of philanthropy and fund your mission into the future.

There are many nonprofits that consider fundraising a non-strategic role, so they distance it from the CEO and bury it within teams responsible for services or marketing, reporting to managers with little or no fundraising knowledge.

CEOs and boards talk about wanting to build a philanthropic culture, yet they relegate fundraising to a non-executive role. Fundraising leaders are charged with achieving ambitious targets to fund an organisation’s mission, yet they are often excluded from the meetings where fundraising decisions are made.

To this day, there are charities where the CEO doesn’t know the fundraising leader’s name and fundraising targets are increased in board meetings without their approval.

What can you do as a fundraising leader?

If this issue strikes a nerve, don’t accept the status quo. Share this article with your CEO and respectfully request a discussion about elevating the importance of fundraising within your organisation.

In addition, keep working on building your professional identity – become a FIA member, do more professional development, get your CFRE accreditation and hold yourself and your charity accountable to the FIA Code. If we as professional fundraisers want a seat at the table, we have to show CEOs and boards that fundraising is a profession that is accountable and committed to excellence.

What if you’re a CEO?

As CEO, you’re the fundraiser-in-chief, but you’re not expected to be an expert in fundraising. The best way to build a culture of philanthropy and ensure fundraising best practice is to elevate fundraising within your charity. Make your fundraising leader a member of your executive team, support their professional development and involve them in shaping your organisation’s strategy.

You’ll see the results first-hand – improved donor experience, greater accountability, innovation and growth in fundraising and ultimately more impact for your organisation in 2021 and beyond.

Christine Anderson, MFIA CFRE, is Head of Fundraising & Marketing at Variety – the Children’s Charity of Queensland, and Fundraising Institute Australia QLD State Chair.

This article is a segment from Talking Point and will appear in the Summer 202o/21 issue of F&P, out in print and online on 1 December.

Want to find out what other fundraisers think about fundraising in 2021? Want to read our State of the Fundraising Nation special? Subscribe to F&P – it’s just $1 for your first four weeks.