A study of fundraising professionals has found that 46% intend to leave their current employer within the next two years.
Some 9% of respondents to the report, What Makes Fundraisers Tick?, planned to leave the field of fundraising and development altogether within the next two years.
The report’s authors said “very few” charities understood fundraisers’ needs, and urged more to focus on their wellbeing to retain staff.
‘Connectedness to cause’ most important factor
Based on a digital survey of 2,674 fundraisers, the study found that the stronger the sense of an employee’s connectedness with an organisation's cause, the stronger their sense of commitment to their employer.
However, respondents were more likely to lack organisational commitment if they had a lack of professional growth, lack of autonomy, and lack of board support.
Some key elements as to what motivates and retains fundraisers were how closely they were connected to their cause, a feeling that “supersedes everything else”, according to the research.
If fundraisers feel disconnected from the cause they work for via budgets or structures they are likely to seek employment elsewhere, the report said.
Professional respect for fundraisers is also crucial for staff retention, it said.
In organisations where fundraising was viewed as being a “poor relation” to other departments, fundraisers lost their sense of professional identity and felt further disconnected from the cause, the study found.
‘Very few charities understand fundraisers’ needs’
The research was carried out by Adrian Sargeant and Kathryn Edworthy at the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy.
“Many organisations are beginning to understand how important it is to understand donors and their needs. By contrast, very few have applied the same thinking to how they look after their fundraisers,” said Sargeant.
“Given the high level of turnover in our sector and the steep costs of securing new hires, non-profits need to ensure that they focus on both donor and fundraiser wellbeing in equal measure.”
Alan Clayton, managing director of Revolutionise International, which commissioned the report, said: “It confirmed our hypothesis that fundraisers are motivated by needs which are different from their colleagues in programme and service provision.”