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Staff-Driven vs. Volunteer-Based Fundraising Models

Stakeholder organizations rely on fundraising, commonly using either staff-driven or volunteer-based models. Professional fundraisers drive the former, developing strategies and campaigns. This promises expertise, focus, and consistency but limits scale and relationships. Volunteers lead the latter, canvassing, planning events, and stewarding donors. This enables scale and connections but varies in skill and effort.

Best option: Ultimately, the best approach depends on budget, size, and mission. Larger budgets warrant hired staff to generate more revenue through their specialized skills. Smaller ones find unpaid assistance more affordable. The mission also matters; a health organization could better utilize a volunteer’s personal journey, while an arts organization leans on a fundraiser’s cultivation abilities.

Blend: Rather than choosing one model, most stakeholder organizations blend them. Staff tackles high-level planning and back-office management while volunteers interact one-on-one with the community. This capitalizes on the strengths of each: expertise and strategy from the pros combined with the passion and relationships from grassroots supporters.

Alignment: With any approach, the keys are aligning activities with the mission, recruiting appropriate people, supporting them with training, and playing to inherent strengths while compensating for weaknesses. An integrated staff-volunteer fundraising program allows organizations to maximize skills while building critical community connections.