Things can get a little hairy for a nonprofit when fundraising revenue is down. If we think about this from the perspective of a for profit company, usually the company might look at a number of things, below are just a few:

1.   Why aren't our customers buying our product? Are we still relevant to their needs? Is the product flawed or viewed as flawed?
2.   Do we have some new competitor that’s doing what we are - only better - and customers are buying their product instead? 
3.   Is our marketing on track? Are we reaching out target audience? Is our message clear, crisp and compelling and delivered through the right medium?
4.   Are we making it easy for customers to buy?
5.   Do we have the right people in the right roles?

Unfortunately in nonprofit we go right to number 5 and fire the development director. Then we find someone new. The new person has a great resume, great references and we think they can do the job. We love them. We revere them. We hire them and put them to work and go back to our “real” jobs.

And this happens every year or eighteen months or two years and on it goes.

What’s with the high turnover? Are we really that bad at hiring development directors? Or are they all bad?

The problem is we don’t ever stop and figure out what the problem really is. It could be that there are several other nonprofits doing exactly what we are doing, only better. It could be that our messaging is stale and not reaching the right people. Or it could really be that the Development Director isn’t right for the job.

But we need to stop and figure out what the problem really is before we solve it. Just firing people because we don’t think they are any good is not really going to get us anywhere, except we’ll spend a lot of unnecessary money and time that could have been put toward finding the real problem and solving it, and then raising some money. 

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