I recently facilitated a major gift workshop for professionals from animal nonprofits. You know, animal shelters and rescue organizations. Many didn’t have development professionals on staff. For the most part, the Executive Director was responsible for “doing it all.”
Not only was the Executive Director the chief, cook, and bottle washer, but also claimed to have titles such as:
Chief Cuddler (love this one)
Director of doing what no one else will do (another awesome title)
Chief Excrement Officer (probably my favorite)
It got me to thinking ... can more descriptive, interesting, and friendlier job titles help us in our nonprofit work?
Your Nonprofit Job Title: 2 Questions to Ask Yourself
Try thinking about your job title and responsibilities with regard to fundraising. Ask yourself these two questions ...
1. What’s in a title?
Does “Development Director” or “VP of Development” tell anyone what we actually do? Development means many different things across sectors (development can refer to construction, growth, and many other things). So, when we introduce ourselves outside the fundraising and nonprofit world, does anyone really understand who we are or what we represent?
Development is really just jargon. So if we truly want outsiders to understand our role within our organization, we need to come up with a better title.
I’m not exactly sure what that title should be, but I’d like it to include words like relationship and impact. Something like the Chief Relationship Officer or Director of Greater Impact.
Those aren’t exactly right, but hopefully they’ll inspire creativity and dialogue among you and your colleagues. I hope you’ll share your ideas in the comments.
And, more importantly, ask yourself ...
2. What role should we be playing at our organization?
I mean, who wouldn’t love to be the Chief Cuddler? Maybe instead of Development Director we could be the:
Chief Change Maker
VP of Friend-Raising
Agent of Lasting Change
Director of Greater Impact
Who wouldn’t want to take a meeting with someone with a title like that?
Beyond Your Job Title, Consider Your Role
Let’s look past your job title for just a moment and let’s think about the role you play at your organization. Is it the role you want to play or even should be playing?
I’m coaching a fundraising team and they’re having a hard time with creating a culture of philanthropy at their organization. They’re a summer camp and operate under the principle that recruitment is everyone’s job.
Using the same logic, I believe fundraising is everyone’s job. Unfortunately, many staff and board members don’t see it that way. But it’s our job to educate them.
You’ve probably heard the expression ...
“Fundraising is a team sport.”
Fundraising can’t be done alone or in a vacuum. So whatever your current business card says, let’s change the narrative together.
So what’s my job title?
I’ve always been known as a fundraising consultant. But instead of a “consultant,” I would like to be forever known as an Agent of Change, a VP of Inspiration, or even a Director of Motivation.
Do you have a creative title at your organization? What would you like your title to be? Let me know in the comments.
This post is reprinted from Amy Eisenstein’s blog.
Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, is one of the country’s leading fundraising consultants. She's raised millions of dollars for dozens of nonprofits through event planning, grant writing, capital campaigns, and major gift solicitations. She has a real talent for making fundraising simple and accessible for her clients and followers.