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Slump hits fundraising professionals

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The overall economic malaise, coupled with flagging donations, has begun to affect staffing and morale in development offices across the U.S., a new study says.

About a fifth of institutions responding to a recent survey have laid off staff, says the report from Marts & Lundy, a philanthropic consulting firm.

Those staff reductions tended to occur among front-line fundraisers, other professionals and support staff, leaving senior management positions fairly intact.

Reductions in front-line fundraisers typically occurred among organizations in the planning phases of a campaign, the study says.

And more than three in four institutions says they are worried about whether their front-line employees will be able to reach their fundraising goals this year, while almost half say their fundraisers are have are harder time scheduling appointments.

In response, almost half the institutions surveyed have smaller budgets for the next fiscal year, and about four in 10 are combining positions when staff slots are vacated.

Employee morale is becoming a larger issue, the report says, and almost two in three institutions in the planning stages of a capital campaign have found it necessary to address morale.

However, more than three in four organizations say they will not implement employee-retention incentives in order to keep staff.

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