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Mentoring for development professionals

Why should my organization consider getting outside help to mentor a new development officer?

For persons new to development, a well designed period of training and support can set the right course in a manner that yields best return with the shortest learning curve. This is especially important for organizations

  1. whose ongoing support relies on healthy relationships with donors.
  2. that are setting up a development department or position for the first time.
  3. that have hired a development officer with little or no previous experience.
  4. that operate on a small budget and can’t afford to sink funds into efforts that prove ineffective.

Advancement Associates specializes in assisting church related organizations to define an appropriate development function and find the right resources to make it happen.

Our approach is relationship centered, teaching fundraising as a service or actual ministry of the organization to its donors. We focus on appropriate techniques for identifying, cultivating and closing gifts in a manner that brings respect and satisfaction to the donor while furthering the mission of the organization.

A major component of the AAI plan is hands-on coaching. In addition to making regular onsite visits through an entire annual cycle of development activity, the AAI consultant is available in between visits for unlimited phone and email exchange.

Our coaching model also includes actual field work. The AAI consultant will spend time in the field partnering with the development officer in actual prospect and donor visits—mentoring, supporting, observing and giving feedback to ensure best relationship building and solicitation skills.

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Professional development opportunities

What professional development opportunities do you suggest for fundraising officers?

The Fund Raising School at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University offers a variety of valuable courses. These 1-5 day courses are offered in select cities nationwide and, in some cases, online.

A complete course listing is available online.

Fundraisers should also consider participating in a local chapter of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals or the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning. These monthly meetings offer speakers, updates on laws that affect the fundraising profession, networking with other fundraising professionals and potential mentoring opportunities.

Arranging for mentoring from a professional consultant is an excellent way for new development officers to shorten the learning curve and reach contribution goals. This is especially useful for fundraisers who work alone in a small organization.