Ask a Pro: About Transition Planning

As the outgoing Fundraising Chairperson, it’s important to get your successor up to speed.

The Fundraising Edge asked several seasoned fundraising professionals for suggestions on how to successfully turn fundraising responsibilities over to new leadership.

“The best case scenario is that the person running the current fundraising sale uses next year’s chairperson as their lieutenant, so they get to go through it at least once. What I’ve found over the years is that the successor looks forward to doing his or her first fundraiser, but there is a lot of anxiety if they don’t know what to expect. So a dry run is a good way to prepare them for their upcoming role. If that is not possible, we have an outline that we give the chairperson that details what’s coming up and what needs to be done. It really helps walk them through the process from beginning to end.”

—Roger Coutu, Pine Meadow, CT

“Most companies provide a written guide outlining each step of the fundraising process from beginning to end. This is important, but just as important is communicating with the past fundraising chairperson. This person has been there and done it, and her experience can be drawn upon throughout the sale. It is surprising how many parent groups fail to talk to the past people that headed up the previous fundraising projects. Even if this person is no longer part of the present PTO, it would behoove the new fundraising chair to stay in contact. Ask them about problems they might have had with money collection, delivery day or after the sale concerns. Experience counts!”

—Steve Kirk, Phoenix, AZ

“Continuity from year to year is an important element in fundraising sponsor management. The new fundraising chairperson should be invited to attend the wrap-up meeting for the current fundraising campaign. This opportunity can be used to discuss the successes and issues in the concluding sale along with any improvements or new ideas for the upcoming year.”

— JC Smith, Port Washington, WI

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