This research paper explores why development directors voluntarily depart charitable organizations and what strategies nonprofits can institute to better retain development talent. A literature review and analysis are the primary research methods used in this paper. Findings from the review and analysis show that development directors voluntarily depart their positions due to job and organization fit issues that impact overall job satisfaction. These job and organization fit issues include unrealistic performance expectations; difficult relationships with leadership; unclear roles; a lack of staff support; limited decision-making power; and limited access to advancement opportunities. Voluntary development director turnover often creates position vacancy at nonprofit organizations of all sizes and can result in both direct and indirect costs for the organization, including lower organizational performance and morale; decreases in donations; loss of institutional knowledge and stakeholder connections; service delivery disruption; increased recruitment expenses; and heavier staff workloads. To retain development directors, research recommends that nonprofits update their human resource management practices; create a welcoming, supportive, and values-driven work environment; and change perceptions about fundraising and philanthropy across an organization. Implications for nonprofit leadership and the sector include the need to attract and advance development talent and to champion fundraising so that development directors and the sector as a whole are well-supported. While the available literature provides opportunity for analysis, a research gap remains as most studies examine general circumstances and practices or focus on specific nonprofit subsectors, making it difficult to generalize findings across the sector. Additional research focused specifically on development director turnover measures and retention tactics is needed.
Pepelko, Kristina M.
"Untangling Turnover: Why Development Directors Leave and What Nonprofit Organizations Can Do About It,"
SPNHA Review: Vol. 16:
1, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/spnhareview/vol16/iss1/7