5 Tips for Taking Over an Existing Fundraiser

Sydney Franklin | January 8, 2019


Leadership changes. It’s a fact of life for any organization. But chances are, your group has a core team of people who can keep things moving forward no matter who’s in charge.

Change can be tough. But if you do a few things to prepare, you can take over an existing fundraiser without breaking a sweat!

Do Your Research

Taking over a fundraiser is no small feat. You can give yourself an edge by studying the history and mission of the organization you’ll be leading. When you walk in with this expertise, members will respect you more.

If you’re the departing leader, make things easier for your replacement by passing on information that can be helpful. Meet in advance and be up front about the challenges the new leader will face in the role.

Gather Documentation

For departing team members, the best way to ease the transition is to document as much as possible. Ideally, you’ll have procedures listed for everything you do. But chances are, you haven’t been running around with a pencil and notepad throughout your time as a leader.

For incoming leaders, it can help to jot down notes as you meet with the leadership team. If possible, shadow the departing leader and document what you can. Any information you can gather will help you once you’re on your own.

Meet Members Early

You can ease the transition by bringing in the new leader early, explaining the change side by side. The new leader may even want to be a part of your fundraiser wrap-up, if you’ve reached the end of a season just before it’s time to exit.

If you’re the new leader, make yourself available to meet the team while the former leadership is still in place. This will show everyone that loyalty to you is in no way being disloyal to the previous leader. It will help if the leader actually encourages the team to support and help you.

Try New Things

You may want to smooth the transition by keeping things the same. Resist that temptation. As a new leader, your goal is to drive your organization forward. This is done, in part, by coming up with new and better ways to do things.

Departing leaders can ease the transition by giving new leaders warning about what changes might and might not be welcome. If you have certain volunteers or team leaders who might be resistant to change, suggest ways to introduce new ideas without offending.


Throughout any change in leadership, the most important thing everyone can do is to keep the lines of communication open. Without communication, resentment can build, denting morale and making life difficult for the new leader.

Departing leaders can kick off the transition during your resignation announcement. Make it clear that when they make things easier for the new leadership team, they move the organization forward. Keep it light and positive and volunteers will embrace the change.

Although change is never easy, both the new and departing leaders can do a few things to move things along. Volunteers often take their cues from their leader, so it’s important that you send the right message each step of the way.

For more fundraising tips and tricks, check out our blog!