Virtual Fundraising Team
Ann C. Fitzgerald, President
Even as businesses re-open and people get a taste of post-pandemic freedom, nonprofits need to prepare for a changed fundraising environment moving forward.
The good news is that nonprofits have shown a great deal of agility in pivoting to new communication and operating systems during these past months.
Virtual fundraising teams are now the norm and may be here to stay. Nonprofit leaders should consider these ideas for management and team building in this new reality:
- Use online communication tools (Google Chat, Microsoft Teams, etc.) to keep informal conversations going throughout the day in order to build team rapport and relationships, as well as improve communication.
- Don’t give up on video conferencing. People are feeling Zoom-fatigue, but it’s still important to find ways to see your team face-to-face. Don’t default to conference calls.
- Be flexible but insist on accountability. Many nonprofits have extended work hours (e.g. 5:30 am – 10:00 pm) to accommodate staff with responsibilities at home. Use online tools, such as Tsheets, to track and share everyone’s work and availability.
- Invest in your employees’ home offices. Consider how you can help improve efficiency with minor investments such as high-speed internet, basic office furniture or a better printer.
- Don’t forget about security. Home computers may expose your organization to security risks with internal or donor data. Ensure every employee is using a VPN (virtual private network) when connecting to your systems.
- Consider a “blended” team. Many nonprofits have staff working in the office as well as virtually, which can broaden the hiring pool significantly, allowing them to bring in the very top talent. This isn’t a new concept, but lessons learned from these stay-at-home months may have prepared you well to take advantage of this approach.
- Develop a range of policies now. Talk to your HR advisor about policies that will establish clear guidelines and expectations for work hours, availability, etc. Involve your staff in these discussions as well. The time to act is now – don’t wait until problems arise, damaging team morale.
Ann C. Fitzgerald is Founder and President of AC Fitzgerald, using her decades of experience in fundraising, management, leadership, and sales to help nonprofits build their capacity and achieve success. She is a sought-after speaker, writer, and advisor.