During the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 49th International Conference on Fundraising, Mary C. McQueen, executive director of development at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, shared the experiences she had when her office went through re-evaluation and restructuring in the face of shrinking funds and increased demands.
The results of these changes were a net positive for Del Mar College. None of the nine full-time employees in her department lost their jobs, money was saved, and fundraising improved. Just because the results were good doesn't mean there wasn't any resistance, however. McQueen outlined the challenges her organization faced and the lessons learned:
- A massive learning curve for new staff.
- Moving cheese makes the natives nervous. The challenge is keeping the team focused on tasks and goals.
- It’s important to share concepts, not details, of the reorganization.
- Focus on opportunities for professional growth, not deletion of positions.
- Build bridges, not walls. Allies come from unexpected corners.
- At each step, search for options and guidance from trusted sources. Be open and listen. Then choose what works.