Interview with a Development Director

Categories: Silent Auction

While considering a blog topic recently, I began thinking about the challenges facing many Development Directors in today’s non-profit environment. So I decided to give my friend Susie a call. Susie has been the D.D. for a small non-profit that provides after-school activities for disenfranchised children in Colorado. She was happy to address the following questions:


What has been your biggest challenge since you took the job of Development Director so far?

“Honestly, it’s a combination of things. Mostly, we have struggled with retaining donors. We have an effective donor database program, but people drop off from one year to the next without necessarily giving a reason,”  “We also have had some changes in our board of directors lately that can upset the apple cart or add value depending on agendas and personalities.”

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

“I would have to say the hundreds, almost thousands ,of children we have helped over the years.” Our program gives children the opportunity to participate in after-school sports programs that, sadly, are not free for everyone.” “Children need a safe and productive environment after they leave school each day. We provide that for them.”

How do you communicate with donors to let them know the good work you are doing and keep them informed of your programs?

“Well, as said, we do have an excellent donor base C.R. M. program that provides the organizational aspect of keeping in touch.” “We also send out a quarterly newsletter and have begun to be much more active on social media.”

What is your biggest fundraising challenge?

“We have two major fundraising events per year.” “One is a golf tournament and the other a gala.” While they have consistently brought in funds, obviously, it’s not enough.” You may have heard the phrase when referring to board members “get, give or get off.” I struggle with board members understanding their roles.” “Many believe they are there to add sophistication with name only; that is not how it works. Board members need to be constantly reminded that it is their job to use their circle of influence to raise funds.” “You have to remember, the same people you are telling what to do are the same people who can fire you.” “It can be a difficult dance!”

Have you used a consignment company for any of your silent auctions?

“Oh goodness, yes! However, I can’t say that I’ve had a great experience with any of them.” “Basically, it’s enough work to get the donated items and any consignment company I have worked with actually make my committee work harder with low-profit margins.”

Socially Funded is a unique and profitable silent auction company that virtually does all the work for you. As I told my friend, they give the non-profit 100% over the minimum bid and also a built-in profit of the minimum bid.  Socially Funded sets up the display, mans it, breaks it down and leaves the fundraising committee a check at the end of the evening. Susie is located in Vail, Colorado so she’s not in our current area of business (South Florida and the DC area) but she told me to let her know when we’re ready to come to Colorado!