A major reason most small to mid-sized non-profits fail to capture their full growth potential is because they follow the pattern of hiring a Development Director and assigning that position the central responsibilities for generating revenue.
There aren’t enough suitable job candidates at the pay being offered. To be a good fundraiser, one needs a sharp business mind, technical ability, excellent communication and relationship skills, and a great store of positive energy.
Job seekers with this talent portfolio get well-paid positions in the private sector. Or are successful business owners themselves. Or are paid well to raise money for the wealthier non-profits, such as hospitals and universities. Or they become fundraising consultants.
So this leaves the great majority of non-profits, organizations that can only afford $50K or at most $75K a year in salary, with a hiring pool largely depleted of suitable candidates. And as many Executive Directors will tell you, this means it is very hard to find a good Development Director.
This problem has long been discussed sotto voce in the non-profit sector, but there are no solutions out there.
But now we have the answer, one we have proven with nationally respected clients. Here it is.
First, instead of an “experienced” candidate, hire a smart, charismatic, energetic college grad for $30K to 40K a year. Take the leftover money and hire us to design a best practices business plan, strategy, tactics, and activity metrics. We create a clear structure and process in which the new hire can be successful. Once the complex strategy and team building is figured out, we train our new hire to do the right things. No experience required: just drive, charisma, discipline, and excellent communication skills. We stay on tap for 3-4 months to mentor the hire, assess growth potential, and facilitate a successful launch, which includes harnessing the entire power of the organization to drive growth–instead of leaving it in a development office silo.
If the new hire doesn’t hit 60, 120, and 180 performance marks, try again. We DO NOT let the wrong person ride the bus. But if the hire works—and with everything worked out by the expert consultant, she or he has excellent prospects for success—the org boosts the position’s salary and title by 10K each year until it hits senior grade. Advertise that senior grade salary (we recommend at least $100K) and we attract a seriously ambitious applicant pool. Who wouldn’t want a job with no experience that gets them to 100K in 5 years if they work hard?
This setup puts a stop to the turnover plaguing the profession: the average tenure of a development director is approximately 18 months, another indication of a broken model.
The hires we’ve made and trained– hires with no previous major gift experience– have raised multi-million dollar gifts in the first 90 days of their position.
We are looking forward to duplicating this success.
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