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Leadership is Made, not Born, in the Fundraising Industry


Part of providing leadership development in Perth is keeping tabs on industry developments around the world. Globally, the not-for-profit industry seems to be suffering from a lack of confidence in fundraising markets. Since this industry depends on fundraising and donations for operating funds, this crisis of confidence could have serious ramifications that may affect their ability to operate effectively.

According to a recent article from Pro Bono Australia, a website that caters to not-for-profit organisations, not for profit fundraisers in Australia are facing a trend that has had serious consequences in the US. In the US, more than 50% of chief fundraisers are planning to forfeit their positions within the next two years, with 40% planning to leave the industry.

The staff at Pro Bono Australia feels that fundraisers in Australia are facing similar issues to those in the US, and that it could cause a similar exodus from fundraising positions if there is no intervention. The three main problems facing the fundraising industry are internal upheaval, increasing competition and economic uncertainty.

When there is a dearth of prospective replacements, leaders are leaving the industry at the time when they are crucial to the survival of many charities. In Australia, a recent survey by Deloitte revealed that only 10% of Australian fundraisers projected 2013 to be a better year than 2012.

Maintaining morale and motivating staff are seen as exceedingly difficult in the current economic climate, so with maintaining the vision of not for profits due to a lot of restructuring of personnel. Graham Leigh, from UK charity Skills-Third Sector, noted that job security in the industry is very low, and that it is important for management to provide inspiration from the highest levels.

In an industry so desperate for leadership, where will the next generation of leaders come from? There are no leaders on the boards or in other industries who can step right into the not-for-profit sector and succeed on their own.

The consensus is that leadership is going to have to be developed from within the industry-from top to bottom. Simply stated, those charities that don’t invest in leadership development and training now may not survive.

Call (08) 9242 8122 for more information.

Ron Cacioppe

Ron Cacioppe is the Managing Director of Integral Development and holds a BSc, an MBA and a PhD. He has taught in the Graduate School of Management at Macquarie University, Curtin University and the University of Western Australia.

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