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Tips for Celebrating Your Fundraising Team

Updated: May 28

Three pineapples in party hats, one wearing dark sunglasses, surrounded by colorful balloons and party noisemakers.

This post is intended for those of you leading fundraising teams -- the Vice Presidents of Advancement, Directors of Development, Individual Giving Managers, and others. Please pass it on to anyone in those positions.

You're welcome to keep reading if you’re not the leader of a fundraising team. There aren't any secrets here. I just want you to know that I'm writing to the team leaders with an important message.

Leaders, it’s time to celebrate. 🥳🎈

Your fundraising team, like you, has worked hard all year. They’ve given their best for the mission and for the team. Their work is paying off. It may be paying off in just the way you imagined or in some other way you can’t see yet.

It’s important to notice your team’s wins 🏆 and the challenges they’ve faced -- to make sure your team knows and feels that you’ve seen them, their fundraising work, and their accomplishments.

I spent a lot of years leading fundraising teams. ⌛ Teams with just a couple people and teams with more than 20 people. I did not always get this right. Slowing down, pausing to acknowledge what’s working and to celebrate accomplishments doesn’t come naturally to me. Fortunately, I had people around me, including team leader extraordinaire, Sarah Staiger 💗, to nudge me. And we were all so much better for it.

So now I’m nudging you. Take a pause. Look up from your screen and look at the people on your team. You’ll see that there’s so much there to celebrate.

Your celebrations do not need to be elaborate or expensive. In fact, simple gestures often mean more than big parties. Your celebration need only be heartfelt. Tell people that you see them and the things they're doing.

Here are a few simple tips for things you can do to celebrate your fundraising team:

  1. Create a celebration board, virtually or on a wall everyone sees regularly. Get things started by adding some words or images of wins for the year or things you appreciate about members of your team. Invite others on the team to do the same.

  2. Initiate an appreciation chain. Assign each person on your team the task of preparing or writing a few sentences about something they appreciate about one other person on the team. Share the appreciations during a meeting.

  3. Set aside some time for play. How about some Pictionary or Charades or Corn Hole?

  4. Write a note to each of your team members sharing what you appreciate about them. Do one a day or one a week through the end of the year. Or schedule some time during the quiet of the last week of the year to write them all at once.

Your team needs you to lead the celebration, leader! They need to know you see them. They need to hear you say, "Good job. I appreciate you."

And, by the way, leaders, I appreciate you, too. 😊

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