Pick up any donor list and it might include a Head of School, an Executive Director or the Rabbi, often at a significant level. However, very few other staff members donate each year. Is it fair to ask administrative staff to give to support the organization that pays them “nonprofit rates” (Read: discounted salaries)? Can you ask staff to donate to your own cause?
As the director of operations of one of our clients recently told his staff, “giving starts at home.”
If a person feels passionate enough to work for a nonprofit and advocate for the mission, then, shouldn’t this be a fundraising priority as well?
Turning Around the Mindset
If staff has never given to the annual fund, it may require a change in their mindset. How do you start? As with all donors, the key to getting the gift is to engage, cultivate and, ultimately, ask.
How do you engage and cultivate a group that knows the organization so well? The key is to educate and encourage your staff about this type of giving. Consider the following points to emphasize when you speak with staff—collectively or individually:
- A gift from staff shows the world that people who understand the inner workings of a nonprofit think it is a good philanthropic investment
- A hope that the staff is charitable, in general, and that this is just one organization that they may support this year
- As staff, it is easy to understand the impact of each and every gift – regardless of the amount
- The amount a staff member gives will be kept confidential and only listed within gift categories
- While the gift can be anonymous, by allowing the organization to recognize the staff donor will encourage others—both staff as well as board members and volunteers—to give
- The ideal gift is a meaningful gift and each person’s definition of meaningful is different
- The understanding that a gift is voluntary
It cannot be said enough that a staff gift should never be required or affect employment opportunities or advancement. Some people may not be philanthropically inclined and should not be punished. The goal is to encourage giving so that they understand what it means to be a donor and the importance of each gift. Your bottom line might not change significantly if you ask staff to donate, but through your staff investment you could see a dramatic increase from others.
And, the value of welcoming members of the staff to the community of donors and funders who make a real difference in the world that you serve is priceless.