To deliver on a nonprofit’s mission, all departments need to work together, especially those impacting the bottom line, like the fundraising and finance departments. We know that isn’t always the case at every nonprofit. Often, these departments have different priorities, require different skill sets, and sometimes even seem to speak different languages.


So, we set out to explore the current challenges they face when working together in our Nonprofit Finance and Fundraising Collaboration Study. The study also looks at trends by organization size and across generations (Millennials, Generation Xers, and Boomers).


While there are a lot of helpful insights in the full study, we’ll touch on five key findings here in this post:


  1. Boomers feel the most collaborative. Millennials see room for improvement. A majority of Boomers working in finance (60 percent) and fundraising (57 percent) feel the relationship is very collaborative. However, only 34 percent of Millennials surveyed who work in fundraising, and 51 percent who work in finance think there is a very collaborative relationship.


  1. Small organizations are more collaborative than large organizations. At smaller organizations (less than $10 million in annual revenue), 60 percent of finance staff and 49 percent of fundraising staff describe the relationship as very collaborative. At large organizations ($10+ million in annual revenue), 48 percent of finance staff and 36 percent of fundraisers state they have a very collaborative relationship.


  1. Differing priorities, metrics, and communication are top challenges. Both nonprofit finance and fundraising professionals cite differing priorities, variances in reporting metrics, and lack of communication/information sharing as the biggest challenges they face when working together. Other top challenges include differing personalities, ad hoc reporting requests/interruptions, different terminology, and finance not understanding fundraising expenses.


  1. There’s opportunity for improving the relationship. More than half of fundraisers (55 percent) see room for improvement, characterizing the relationship as somewhat or not at all collaborative. Nearly half of nonprofit finance staff (45 percent) describes the relationship as somewhat or not at all collaborative.


  1. Software integrations are important. A majority of both fundraising (84 percent) and finance (79 percent) professionals feel it is somewhat important or very important to integrate their fundraising and accounting software. Fundraisers feel more strongly about the importance of the integration, with half of respondents citing software integration between their two systems is very important.


And because words can’t always tell the full story, we created this infographic to articulate the state of collaboration in today’s nonprofits.

Infographic on collaboration between fundraising and finance