10 Tips for Successfully Working with Your Camp Development Director

How can your camp’s Development Director be set up for success? Here are 10 tips to help Camp Directors/Executive Directors work with their Development Professionals to ensure the team hits its fundraising goals.
  1. Develop your mindset and understanding of a Culture of Philanthropy for your Camp.
  2. Work together each year on creating the annual development plan.  
  3. Prioritize on the best ROI for fundraising. Develop very specific goals for the coming year. Define the budget and time allocation that will be spent on each of these areas of work:
    • Major Gifts, including Board members
    • Campaigns including Capital Campaigns, Annual Campaign, peer-to-peer Campaigns
    • Legacy
    • Events
    • Alumni Outreach
    • Other, non-fundraising related tasks        
  4. Structure your supervision throughout the year, ensuring there is a proper structure for your Development Director to flourish in.
    • Meet with your Development Director individually on a weekly basis – even during the summer, to assure that he/she remains focused.
    • Monthly, review a report of year-to-date and monthly revenue goals and strategies that you agreed upon in the annual development plan.
    • Sit with your Development Director and brainstorm strategies for each of your major donors. Agree upon a specific date to make a specific ask of a specific amount that would give joy and delight to that specific donor; do this for each of your major donors. It might take a full hour to strategize around a specific donor.
  5. Provide Admin support. Insist that gift processing, acknowledgements, and data entry procedures are written down and followed. Make sure that lapses or weaknesses are made known to you. Support the people responsible for the database so that it will work for you!
  6. Encourage the Development Director to get out of the office and meet with donors.
  7. Support and advocate for your Development Director’s position of leadership at the highest level of the organization, which includes your management team and among your Board members. 
  8. Invest real money in Professional Development and training.
  9. Celebrate and acknowledge your Development Director’s accomplishments.
  10. If you’ve done the above and really tried to help turn performance around but are not getting the performance you expect, then it is time to move on and find someone else to be your Development Director.
Written by Julia Riseman. Julia is a Mentor with JCamp 180. Julia leads Data2Donors, a program to advance Alumni Outreach, improve camp databases, and raise more major gifts, and Fundraising Fundamentals. Julia has also sparked the creation of many JCamp 180 programs and offerings, including this blog.

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at