Charity leaders do not appreciate fundraising, Sweden's Maria Ros Jernberg tells conference

And a dearth of quality staff is the other factor stopping fundraisers from excelling, the chief executive of the Swedish Fundraising Council tells the International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands

Maria Ros Jernberg
Maria Ros Jernberg

Charity leaders do not appreciate fundraising and there is a dearth of quality staff: these are the two main factors preventing fundraisers from excelling, delegates at the International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands were told yesterday.

Speaking at the conference, Maria Ros Jernberg, chief executive of the Swedish Fundraising Council, said there were too many cases of fundraisers receiving "either micro-management or no management at all", which stopped them from realising their full potential.

"The leadership is never appreciative and does not listen to the internal fundraising competence," said Jernberg. "We see a pattern that there is something fundamentally wrong with the internal culture of many organisations."

Jernberg referred to a study of compensation and benefits carried out this year by the US-based Association of Fundraising Professionals, which found that 40 per cent of fundraising staff had left their jobs because there were conflicting opinions about how they should raise money.

She said this statistic suggested that fundraisers were not leaving their jobs, but were leaving their managers.

The small pool of experienced candidates for fundraising positions was proving a big problem for charity recruiters, Jernberg said: "There are just not enough good fundraisers out there – at least, not with years of experience. And the good ones are very likely to leave if they are offered new jobs with higher salaries."

She urged fundraisers who were tempted to do this to forget their egos and put the needs of the sector above their own.

Jernberg told delegates many fundraisers had reported that their organisations were not investing enough in fundraising. If organisations wanted their income to grow, she said, they needed to start investing in the right technology, in the right supporting systems and particularly in the right kind of people.

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