DIY Professional Development for Your Fundraising Team

Get busy!

Get busy!

If your NGO is anything like mine, you either never had much money for professional development, or it dried up during the last economic downturn and never came back. Either way, there’s one sexy solution: Do It Yourself!

Here are four topics that will educate your team and give them a chance to show off share their knowledge with the rest of the group.



  1. Stewardship – my favourite topic! Start by asking your team to send you the most creative stewardship ideas they have ever heard of. Then get the team together, review the stewardship you’re doing, and start a discussion on new things the team could try. Talk about what you do with email, mail, video, on visits and at events. Get the colleagues who submitted samples to describe them to everyone else.

Bonus points: Include communications, marketing and frontline programs staff. They will eat it up AND bring great ideas of their own!

  1. Tricky topics – like ethics or administrative expenses. For ethics, start the same way by gathering sample stories from colleagues, or find some doozies online. Or for the “overhead” discussion, pop some popcorn and watch Dan Pallotta’s TED talk. Discuss!

Bonus points: Just always have food at these things and maybe even find a different space to have the conversation than your usual meeting room. It gets the creative flow flowing.

  1. Donor motivation. That’s right, go for the big topics to get your WHOLE team thinking more broadly about their work than just “I’ve got to update the database with the gala rsvps by Tuesday!” Try watching a video like The Science of Persuasion and have the staff talk about whether you’re using these motivators well and how you could up your game.

Bonus points: Get some key leadership volunteers in for this one – really, any of these could precede an all-staff, management or board meeting.

  1. Share a webinar or conference session. Everyone shares their slide decks these days, so why not grab one from your favourite session at that last fundraising conference and run it for the rest of the team you couldn’t afford to send? Practice a bit first, enlist in-house experts to co-present with you, and look up any missing information so you can put on a smooth show.

Bonus points: When your boss sees you sharing what you learned, it’ll pave the way for more spending on pro-d. Yum.

You’re welcome!

~ Siobhan : )



About Siobhan Aspinall

About Siobhan Aspinall: I am a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), passionate about the environment, social causes and surfing. I have been fundraising in Vancouver, Canada for over 20 years and love working with people who have a fear of fundraising. Call me for help developing a first-time fundraising plan, starting up a major gifts program, writing a case for support, or anything else that's keeping you awake at night! Please find me on linkedin and tell me what you'd like to see in future posts! : ) Photo Credit (sanddollar header): Minette Layne via Compfight cc
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