MERGING JOB RESPONSIBILITES CAN ACTUALLY COST YOU

Executive Director's manage staff, volunteers and actively engage and develop community partners
Executive Director's manage staff, volunteers and actively engage and develop community partners
Grant Writer's perform exhaustive funding research, complete and submit funding applications and more, to ensure continued financial support for the organization
Grant Writer's perform exhaustive funding research, complete and submit funding applications and more, to ensure continued financial support for the organization

During a depressed economic climate, all too often, many businesses panic and react by initiating employee downsizing, merging job duties, decreasing wages or reducing hours. Unfortunately, many times, these decisions are made in haste and the long lasting effect of those decisions can be detrimental. In certain circumstances, this strategy may be necessary; however, it should be a last resort rather than a defensive maneuver.

Within the non-profit sector, merging job duties has become common practice, especially in the area of combining Executive Director and Grant Writing responsibilities. It is imperative that non-profit organization hiring entities recognize the skill set differences between an Executive Director and a Professional Grant Writer. Before implementing this cost cutting method, careful examination is warranted.

What outwardly may appear to be a cost effective, multi-tasking solution; can ultimately, negatively and sometimes irrevocably, affect the fiscal health of a non-profit organization. Failing to acknowledge the importance each of these vital positions offer, can potentially lead to disaster. To dispel a popular belief, in most cases, the respective talents of each of these careers are not interchangeable.

Executive Directors are responsible for the operation of the entire organization. In addition, the Executive Director should be visible and viewed, not only as the organization leader, but also as a passionate supporter and volunteer within the organization. A successful Executive Director is respected by peers, volunteers and staff and must invest valuable time cultivating and maintaining those relationships.

Grant writing success requires hours of research, concentrated focus and the luxury of being able to work, uninterrupted. A grant writer must work closely with all departments within an organization to identify specific projects, programs and services, review the success statistics of previous or similar past projects, obtain necessary financial records for attachment purposes and have the time flexibility to attend funder specific workshops and meetings.

Attempting to merge the responsibilities of Grant Writing with those of Executive Management can be compared to hiring someone as a typist whose skill set is text messaging; while both may use a keyboard, the results will be vary dramatically.

These are just a few common mistakes that occur by combining these two occupations:

Executive Director

Networking becomes non-existent

Attitude and stress has a negative domino effect on staff and volunteers

Perception of disengagement from organization

Personal donor relationships become neglected

Decline in monetary resources foster ineffective, crisis mode fundraising efforts

Grant Writer

Grant applications are submitted in haste, without proper research

Guidelines, instructions and geographic location are incorrect

Funder does not support the submitted area of interest

Budget amounts are incorrect

Required documentation is not attached

Right now, most non-profit organizations are still reeling from the negative impact of a depressed economy. Unfortunately, many non-profit organizations tend to be reactive instead of proactive. Oftentimes, they begin cutting staff and services, rather than taking a wiser, proactive approach to incorporate and employ strategic, sound economic principles in order to move forward.

It is important to be mindful of long term ramifications that can result from a hasty decision and to be very careful when reviewing cost versus income. Cautiously, evaluate whether or not the actions taken will address a situation from a proactive approach or a reactive state. It is better to err on the side of the former rather than the latter.

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