Here’s an easy way to turn your development effort upside down. After your gifts start dropping off, be sure to remind yourself that you just knew that the cost of  the development staff was way out of whack with the income they were bringing in, and you were right to make these changes.

1. Turn vital functions over to inexperienced or temporary personnel. Interns these days are fantastic because they can’t get regular jobs. So they can do major gift development. Then you can downsize your professional, experienced development staff and save a lot of money in salaries and benefits.

2. Scatter development functions among several departments. Let’s see, the marketing guy can write letters, and accounting can enter gifts and generate thank you’s, the intern can be in charge of the database (also, she can train the next intern if they overlap), my cousin knows how to write grants, and there’s that database from that donor support group where you just enter search criteria and all the foundations you need to contact pop up.

3. Don’t do any follow up. Donors don’t want to be annoyed by your calls, emails and letters all the time.

4. Put database management at the bottom of the pile. The post office will fix bad addresses, and no one will notice if their name is misspelled on the envelope.  Plus, it’s easier to just start a new record than it is to hunt around for the old one.

5. Keep fundraising and marketing entirely separate. What in the world does one have to do with the other? Besides, my marketing guy and my fundraising guy don’t seem to get along.

6. Don’t include development in program planning. It’s all on the website anyway.

7. Have one person doing all prospecting, donor management, donor meetings, and solicitations. If this is your Executive Director, so much the better, since that’s the person all the donors want to talk to.

8. Don’t let your development officer attend board meetings. They always ask such uncomfortable questions.

9. Don’t allow your development officer any contact with donors. Donors don’t want to talk to the staff, it’s such an insult. All donors, no matter how small their gift, should have contact with top management whenever they need it.

10. Don’t update your website. It’s so expensive. And while you’re at it, bury that “Donate Now” button. It makes you look greedy when it’s too prominent.

What’s your favorite shortcut to development hell?

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