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Strategic Fund Development: Building Profitable Relationships That Last, Third Edition by Simone P. Joyaux

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Challenges to Constituency Development

You don’t think this is going to be easy, do you? Constituency development is hard work. Building all these relationships requires capacity (resources) and capability (expertise).

Even experienced development officers need to think more about the process and tasks of constituency development. But they often don’t, no more than their less experienced counterparts.

In conversations with fundraisers around the world, even the most experienced professionals make the following comments:

  • “I don’t have enough time to focus on these relationship steps. I’m too busy balancing this year’s budget.”
  • “I can’t spend this kind of time or money on any but the largest donors. I just do an annual letter and a few newsletters to small donors.”
  • “For acquisition, my agency just sends solicitation letters to selected lists. We don’t do any advance cultivation or much qualifying. There’s no time or money.”

Stop it! Really. This is madness leading to failure—or at best very weak success. Fundraisers need to help their organizations change this dynamic. So let’s examine the challenges right now, up front. I don’t want you to be distracted by these thoughts as you go forward in this book. Instead, I want you so inspired to do the right things that you’ll work even harder to overcome the challenges.

The process of constituency development is challenging, even when you’re committed to it. Be prepared. Anticipate these challenges. Then it’s easier to overcome them so ...

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