Five Questions to Ask When Hiring a Nonprofit Fundraising Professional

 fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, job search, fundraising jobs, job interview, how to interview a fundraiser, fundraising career, how to hire a fundraiser If you need to hire a fundraising professional you are in good company. This is one of the hardest positions to fill. It is even harder to retain a talented fundraiser. We have written extensively on these topics over the years because they are a major issue confronting the nonprofit sector.

The number of experienced fund development and fundraising professionals is much smaller than the pool of organizations that need such people. The pool of talent gets even smaller when looking for people who have experience with a diversity of fundraising methods. It is most challenging when looking for an individual who can manage the fundraising function for your organization or institution. This is coupled by a structural challenge: good fundraisers are not necessarily good fundraising managers. Yet the pathway to professional success is often tied to a move from fundraising to management. This is not always a good idea as the strengths of fundraisers are not always the strengths of fundraising managers.

To help you make the right hire, we suggest asking some out of the box questions. Whether you need someone to manage your fundraising, or someone to raise money the questions you ask can influence your hire. Try some of the following:

  1.  What is your history of volunteerism and community involvement? This lets you know a candidate’s appreciation for the nonprofit sector and her understanding of the challenges faced by organizations and volunteers.
  2.  Mentorship and training – who has she been mentored by? Worked under? Which seasoned professional or volunteer has shaped her career? Formal training is hard to come by, but good habits are learned from respected professionals.
  3.  Project development and management – what has your candidate created from scratch? What did she start and manage? Don’t worry about success: you want to learn about her initiative and how she approaches a goal.
  4.  How well has she prepared for the interview? What types of questions does she ask in the interview? Do those questions reflect creative research of your organization? How a candidate prepares for an interview is a clue to how she may approach work with a donor.
  5.  What is her work history and track record? Ask about growth with an organization or within a position; impact of her work; and length at previous positions – has she stayed long enough for organizations to benefit from her tenure? Was she a team player or a loner? Listen to language: do you hear “I raised $99 million in 90 days” or “Together our staff, board and volunteers exceeded our goal.” Does she mention working from a plan? Engaging and supporting volunteers?

Consider these suggestions as you prepare to make your next hire: out-of-the box questions can help you learn what you need to know.

Releated Articles:

1.     How to Hire a Fundraiser  http://fundraisinggoodtimes.com/2012/08/21/how-to-hire-a-fundraiser/

2.     To Hire or To Plan – Which comes first? http://fundraisinggoodtimes.com/2011/04/08/hiring-fundraiser/

3.     Fundraising Fables: Retaining fundraising professionals http://fundraisinggoodtimes.com/2014/07/21/fundraising-fables-retaining-fund-development-professionals/

4.     Your fundraising quarterback: Staff http://fundraisinggoodtimes.com/2012/02/23/your-fundraising-quarterback-staff/

5.     I’ll take a percentage http://fundraisinggoodtimes.com/2009/06/03/fundraising-ethics/

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Five things to consider before accepting a fundraising position

fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, job search, fundraising jobs, fundraising careerThe possibility of a new position as a fund development or fundraising professional brings excitement and anticipation. A new position could mean the opportunity to “finally” put one’s professional skills to use. Maybe with a new position there will be greater opportunities to implement best practices and to meet – or even exceed – goals. Maybe, and maybe not. There are so many variables that impact a professional’s ability to work his or her craft, most of which are beyond their control. If you are considering a new position don’t let the allure of “greener pastures” keep you from researching your potential employer. Here are five things to consider before accepting a fundraising position.

  1.  Organization’s or institution’s mission, vision, value, goals. Do you know what these are? Are they consistently communicated by all parties during your interviews? Do you agree with these? Will they motivate you day-after-day?
  2.  Job description, turnover in the position, budget and resources you will have to work with. During your interviews ask questions about the job description: what percentage of your time will be allocated to the different responsibilities? How much time will be spent on “other duties as assigned?” What budget and resources will you have? Will you control their use or will you need the approval of others? What has been the tenure of other individuals in the position over the past 10 years? What were the reasons for their departure?
  3.  Leadership stability and local/national recognition. Is the president or CEO recognized as a leader in his/her field? How long has he/she held the position? The previous executive? What role does the board play in fundraising? How much do they give and raise collectively each year?
  4.  Planning tools, their use and track record/results. Does the organization actively engage in planning and then work from those plans? Are the following in place: financial plan, business plan (including sustainability and growth projections), strategic plan, fundraising plan? What is its financial status? Is fundraising proactive and volunteer driven or is there a history of “emergency fundraising?”
  5.  Public perception. How is organization perceived by local/regional/national leaders, decision makers and funders? What do the people served think of the organization? When you do a Google search, what do you find? What do your neighbors say?

You may find yourself applying for your “dream job.” Don’t let the glow of your expectations stop you from taking a close look at organizational realities. Your negotiating power is typically greatest before you join an organization, so do your homework and negotiate a position and environment you want to work in. Don’t be afraid to turn down an offer: doing so may be the right decision.

Next week: Five things to consider when hiring a fundraising professional

Image courtesy of ponsulak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

How to launch a successful ice bucket challenge

fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, ice-bucket challenge, fundraising infrastructure, annual giving, social media fundraisingLast week we focused on the excitement – and revenue! – generated by the ALS Foundation’s “ice bucket challenge.” We’re talking millions and millions of dollars. And we imagine your nonprofit organization or college is thinking “why didn’t we think of that?!” Or maybe a board member has approached your executive or development director with a request launch your own challenge.

Here’s our two cents: make sure your fundraising fundamentals are in place. We are talking about things such as a board gives and fundraises. Thanking people within 48 hours. Using a donor management system to track gifts, pledges, relationships and interactions. A case for support that defines your vision, what you are raising money for, how the funds will be used, and what the impact will be.

If you are thinking about a “challenge” you want go globally social you may need to consider a few other items. These include: what do you want donors to do and why? What will motivate donors to give and share your message? How will you succinctly communicate your uniqueness, value and impact? What structure will you put in place to launch and monitor your challenge? Who within your network has strong social media networks they are willing to engage? Who has strong in-person networks to engage for events that energize supporters and engage new ones? Who will kick-start your challenge? What are your media connections? Which celebrity can provide a jumpstart? What will be the “buzz?” There are so many social giving campaigns: what will make yours stand out? What about donor benefits? What can you offer donors as an incentive to give at increasing levels? Say $100 instead of $25?

Regarding infrastructure: how will you respond? Do you have technology in place that can automatically respond with a thank you and tax receipt? Do you have people in place to look each day at who is giving, what level they are giving at, and to reach out with a personal touch – a phone call or personal email – to say thank you? Do you have patience, persistence and a “plan b?” Using a “if you build it, they will come” approach to your challenge would be a recipe for “un-success.” Having a plan to promote your challenge – and consistently working your plan – can increase your chances of success. Concurrently working an alternative plan to raise the money you seek from your challenge will be critical to ensuring your organization or institution meets its fundraising goal. Most importantly, if your challenge is successful, what will be your plan to convert your “challenge” donor into one who will support your organization for years to come? Do you have the capacity and infrastructure to nurture and grow your “challenge” donors? Will they become one-time donors or life-time donors?

Photo credit: PeopleAlerts.com

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

In the heat of summer having a bucket of ice water thrown on you may not be a bad thing. It’s a phenomenon that’s sweeping the nation – contagious fundraising spurred on by social media, sports celebrities, television hosts, movie stars and international performers. Everyone – it seems – is in on it. Well, except for the two of us. We are enjoying the summer heat with no ice water – but we’re giving to ALS anyway. Here’s the reason: we want to be “in with the in crowd.”

We’ve known of ALS – otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease – for decades. But no one has ever asked us to give to The ALS Foundation. There are so many worthy non-profits to give to, and like most people we have a limited budget. But, how could we not give when the nation is gripped with the ice bucket challenge?

In case you don’t know, here’s a quick overview of the challenge: someone challenges you to give to ALS. If you don’t, you have to have a bucket of ice cold water dumped on you. Even better: have it video-taped and posted on social media. Once you complete the challenge you have to challenge others to give or get wet. Here’s the thing: many people are doing both. It’s fun. The videos are hysterical. And the money is pouring in. The numbers from their recent press release are astounding. “As of Tuesday, August 19, The ALS Association has received $22.9 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 19). These donations have come from existing donors and 453,210 new donors to The Association.”

And ALS knows receiving gifts is just the beginning. “Our top priority right now is acknowledging all the gifts made by donors to The ALS Association,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “We want to be the best stewards of this incredible influx of support. To do that, we need to be strategic in our decision making as to how the funds will be spent so that when people look back on this event in ten and twenty years, the Ice Bucket Challenge will be seen as a real game-changer for ALS,” she continued.

The ALS Association is committed to communicating with donors and the public about future plans to spend the unprecedented amount of money it has received over the past few weeks.

So, should your nonprofit or college go viral with a “gimmick” to raise millions? Here are our thoughts: put the fundamentals in place first. If you can’t track and thank your donors, you don’t want thousands of donors: that can become a viral disaster instead of success.

Next week: more about the fundamentals.

Learn more at http://www.alsa.org. #IceBucketChallenge

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Kentucky State University President Raymond Burse leads by example

Dr.-Raymond-Burse, fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, HBCU Kentucky State University, KSU, Raymond Burse, leadershipHave you heard about Raymond Burse, the newly appointed interim-president of Kentucky State University who voluntarily reduced his salary by 25% in order to ensure that all university employees would make a minimum hourly wage of $10.25? That’s right, this HBCU president gave up a total of $90,125 so that 24 employees– some of whom were making $7.25 an hour – could receive a wage increase. On top of this he has pledged to give up additional salary to ensure no future employees make less than $10.25. He initiated the proposal to the university’s board of trustees and they made the changes to his compensation package.

“Who is this man?”, you may ask. He is a past-president of KSU (1982 – 1989), an attorney, and former vice president and general counsel at GE. In our minds he is also a master at generating good will and national media attention. His decision will directly improve the lives of impacted employees. It also shows that he has “skin in the game.” He is willing to personally sacrifice in order to advance the institution and its standing in the community. His action can help break down the walls that too often divide administration from faculty, staff and students, and the university from local residents. His decision reallocates existing resources and demonstrates commitment to the institution.

Our minds were racing when we heard the news. Too often we hear statements from nonprofit leaders that include “what can I do?” or “we don’t have any resources” or “no one knows about our organization.” Burse’s actions caused people all over the country to take notice. When we heard him interviewed on television he mentioned a result of his decision: people are making inquiries about enrolling and giving. These are two priorities that confront almost every institution of higher education. While his decision was a personal one based on what he believed was right, it has had national impact. He defined his agenda and presented it to the board of trustees.

When we look at Burse’s decision through the lens of fundraising we ask nonprofit leaders – including university presidents – to take time to contemplate and articulate your vision and to then do what you can do to bring that vision into life. Burse is an African American leader who took initiative. What actions can you initiate? Burse reallocated resources. What resources can you reallocate? Burse’s decision attracted positive attention and will certainly help to reposition KSU. What actions can you take that will reposition your nonprofit?

We believe Burse’s decision was an ethical one with many positive implications. What resources and relationships are available to your nonprofit that have not yet been fully utilized? Are there opportunities you are not yet taking advantage of? Take time to reflect and when appropriate, take ethical action.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

The importance of processing nonprofit gifts within 72 hours

first 48 investigation,  fundraising, gift processing, gift acknowledgement, donor attrition, donor retentionAsking for a donation to your nonprofit is one component of fundraising. How that gift is processed once it is received is another. Both are important. Your actions can strengthen a donor relationship, or contribute to its demise. “The First 48” is a TV crime show that stresses the importance of the first 48 hours to the overall criminal investigation. Create guidelines for “The First 72” to keep fundraising on track. Letting gifts “pile up” and processing them once every week or two may appear efficient, but this process may require investigation!

Here are questions to answer when creating your First 72.

Is this a new donor or returning donor? If a new donor, ensure all contact information is entered or imported into database. If you know who solicited or referred the donor, record that information. If a returning donor, ensure contact information is up to date, name is spelled correctly, and you are not inadvertently creating duplicate donors. (Don’t laugh… Andrea Johnson, Andrea Tammy Johnson and Tammy Johnson may all be the same person!)

Who should thank the donor? Is an email enough? When should you send a letter? Who should sign it? Should a telephone call be made? By whom? Figure these things out in advance, and be consistent.

Is the gift an “unrestricted” or “restricted?” This refers to the wishes of the donor. This issue typically arises with larger gifts, when a donor requests that funds be used for a specific program or purpose. Make sure you honor your donors’ requests. More on this topic in a future column. For now, be sure to document gift restrictions and honor them.

What information will this donor receive in the future? Will they receive all communications? General communications plus those related to a specific area of interest? Add them to appropriate lists. Make sure they receive appropriate, timely print and electronic information going forward.

Does the donor have questions or concerns? Who will call or email the donor in order to respond? Don’t let these slip through the cracks! Related to this, was a premium promised? If yes, make sure it is sent out quickly. When a major gift is received make sure staff and leadership know the gift’s impact. Don’t keep good news a secret!

Finally, run gift reports each week and share with leadership and fundraising volunteers. This helps build fundraising momentum, and lets solicitors know who has made a gift so they can personally say “thank you.” Leadership can review these reports and make decisions regarding future cultivation and potentially increase a donor’s gift.

The First 72 is critical to sustaining and growing your donor base. Treat donors well from the beginning to avoid a donor attrition investigation.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

How Fundraising Good Times column motivated fundraiser to raise $45,000

An Interview with Judy Davis – Part Two

Metal Museum  Gates, fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, Metal Museum, first time fundraising, leadership

Metal Museum’s 10th Anniversary Gates

“I did not recruit leadership, instead I embraced leadership.” This is what we learned from Judy Davis membership outreach manager at the Metal Museum in Memphis. We were talking with Davis to learn how this column FUNdraising Good Times influenced her work in raising $45,000 for The 10th Anniversary Gates Campaign. This was a campaign to restore the beloved metal gates at the museum and the 331 rosettes that adorn them.

The campaign was launched in April 2013, but Davis “did not get involved with the campaign until November 2013 when I saw we needed more funds. I produced a timeline of events and presented it to my Director and the Public Engagement Associate. I took the Development Boot Camp workshops that were offered at the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence and received advice from my previous manager that raised funds for the Memphis Public Library,” Davis shared. “I did not ask anyone to do anything I would not do and I tried to keep the momentum going. I tried to create an environment where all my coworkers felt they had a vested interest in the success of the campaign.”

She developed two questions to drive her fundraising. These were: “How do the Metal Museum gates impact the community?” and “What is your story as it relates to the gate?” These were derived from her desire for museum members and visitors to feel they had a personal connection with the gates.

Davis also developed a brand identity for the campaign that tied to the museum’s overarching brand. “I wanted the feel and color of gray (metal) but to focus on the gates not the museum. The stationary, invitations and thank you cards were one unit. The pieces were interchangeable but they could be put together as one.” She took the time to share her brand strategy with fellow staff, “I wanted to make sure that we all understood why and how to communicate that to the public.”

When asked what she would do differently next time, Davis responded, “Give myself more than seven months to raise a substantial amount of money. Have a volunteer front person, a voice, to help raise the funds needed.”

We share Davis’ story with you because it shows that one person can make a difference. Davis had been reading our column, cutting them out, and jotting down adjectives and catch phrases on index cards for easy reference. Here are a few examples: developed, branded, launched, raised = goal. She focused on tips such as “leadership is critical to the success of any fundraising efforts” and “communicate in words and action.”

Davis is ready for her next project: making the museum’s collection more accessible to the public. Stay tuned: she is a woman you are sure to hear more from.

Photo credit: Metal Museum. www.metalmuseum.org

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

$45,000 Raised by First Time Fundraiser

An Interview with Judy Davis – Part One

Judy Davis, fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, Metal Museum, first time fundraising, leadership, ArtsMemphis

Judy Davis

We eat, drink and sleep fundraising. It’s what we love. We truly enjoy and embrace the people and organizations we work with. We get excited when clients take the tools we develop for them and put them to work. We cherish their successes and most importantly we celebrate their work. At the end of the day fundraising is all about attracting resources for nonprofit organizations and institutions that make a difference in people’s lives. While not every organization is in a position to hire fundraising counsel, there are so many people doing wonderful things who need just a few suggestions, or some new information so they can do a better job and raise more money. These are the people we write FUNdraising Good Times for.

This column is our way of giving back and sharing information about fundraising, fund development and the important roles of nonprofit board members, staff and volunteers. It was almost nine years ago that FUNdraising Good Times debuted in The Globe Newspaper in Oakland, CA. There are now 30 papers and two magazines from around the country that publish this column. This commitment on the part of publishers and editors demonstrates their commitment to growing the nonprofit sector and supporting the people who give their time and energy to serving others.

We cherish our readers, though most are unknown to us. As writers you don’t always “meet” your audience. But, we did recently met a reader who embraced us sharing “I read your column all the time.” We were conducting a workshop for the ArtsMemphis community engagement fellows when Judy Davis came up to us and shared that she raised $45,000 using suggestions from our column. That caught our attention and we had to learn more!

We learned that Davis, the membership outreach manager at the Metal Museum in Memphis, played an important role in The 10th Anniversary Gates Campaign. The museum was celebrating the 25th anniversary of the most beloved part of their permanent collection – the 10th Anniversary Gates. These are metal gates adorned with 331 unique rosettes that were contributed by over 200 metalsmiths from around the world. After 25 years of exposure to the elements the gates and rosettes desperately needed restoration. This required removing, repairing and cleaning each rosette, and then sandblasting and repainting the gates.

The campaign raised $45,000 by inviting museum members and visitors to “sponsor a rosette” with individual donations ranging from $100 – $500. Each rosette sponsor received a credit line in a catalog published to commemorate the rededication of the newly restored gates on Mother’s Day, 2014.

This was Davis’ first professional fundraising project and she was armed with inspiration and information from our columns.

Next week: The details!

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Fundraising Fables: Retaining Fund Development Professionals

Why is it so hard tLeyna Bernstein, leadership search partners, fundraising, development director, hiring fundraising staff, recruiting fundraising staff, fundraising mistakes, fundraising careero retain fund development professionals? That’s the polite version of the question that has executive directors pulling their hair out, and nonprofit board members wondering “what’s going on?”

“One of the reasons we continue to see so much turn-over in fundraising staff is the pervasive misunderstanding of how fundraising works, shares Leyna Bernstein, founder of Leadership Search Partners. With this column we bring you excerpts from her column on Fundraising Fables. There are seven fables – Here are three.

Fable 1: We hire a development director to do our fundraising for us.

Fact: Success in fundraising comes from building a shared responsibility for cultivating and stewarding donors throughout the organization. The board and the executive director share accountability with the chief development officer. The job of your development director is to create the organization’s fundraising plan and oversee its implementation, not to make all of your asks. For this role, planning, coaching, managing and mentoring are more important tasks than solicitation.”

We couldn’t say it more succinctly. In our experience it is a lack of understanding of the fundraising process on the part of the executive director and board that leads to a harmful disconnect between nonprofit executive directors and development directors.

Fable 3: We will hire a fundraiser who will bring his donor rolodex with him.

Fact: Really? Do you give your money to the fundraiser, or to the cause? Ethical fundraisers are not going to “bring their donors with them”. While fundraisers may have existing relationships that can open some doors, and while having a fundraiser with exceptional relational skills is critical, it is your cause and impact that will attract investment.

There are two faces to this fable: sometimes the nonprofit who wants to “hire a rolodex” and other times a development professional is “selling” her rolodex. When making a hire don’t look to use another organization’s relationships – build your own, for most are not transferrable. We know of too many instances where candidates promote their relationships with donors/funders, forgetting that the relationships are really between donors/funders and the organization not the individual.

Fable 4: A track-record of big asks is an indicator of ability to be a development director.

Fact: Executive Directors and board members get in trouble when they hire major gifts officers and expect them to manage a department and build infrastructure. Many accomplished major gifts fundraisers are specialists and outstanding individual contributors. They are not necessarily suited to running a department and managing systems

This fable is also present within institutions of higher education. Failing to provide increasing levels of compensation and recognition to talented major gifts officers can lead them to apply for vice president positions which may not necessarily be a match for their skills.

Learn more by reading Fundraising Fables at http://leadershipsearch.com/blog.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Welcome home baby boomers!

Part two of a two-part series

African American male, baby boomers, community leadership, fundraising, community development, leadership development, AARP, AgingTalented leadership is always in high demand. The question is: where do you look for leaders, who are you overlooking, and how do you effectively sustain their involvement? When recruiting talent for your organization, business or municipality make sure you consider individuals over age 55. Here’s what we know – these “so called seniors” represent a growing percentage of the population, and many have experience, education, and connections that can transform communities and organizations. They can provide valuable leadership in the civic and nonprofit sectors, when called upon.

It is important to consider individual seniors for individual positions in organizations, agencies and businesses. It is equally important to create a local or regional organizational structure that attracts and engages older individuals who want to make an impact. In many communities there is an organized effort to attract and retain young leaders. A similar effort should be made to engage older residents. Care is taken when recruiting younger talent, and similar attention should be paid to the recruitment and engagement of older talent.

For example, when looking at community development, economic growth, transforming education, or increasing cultural opportunities “seniors” can be major contributors. Many have skills, experience and relationships that have been developed over years and decades. Those who had careers as corporate executives and managers have worked in communities across the country and can bring that national exposure and learning to your local community. They can play key roles on local and state civic boards and commissions. Their strategic thinking and board service in other communities can add value to local nonprofit boards.

Creating a structure that focuses on engaging the talent of seniors can yield financial and civic rewards. Such a structure can also serve as a formal way to “welcome home” those seniors who are returning to the community after careers in other parts of the country, or internationally. Consider this: What mechanisms are in place to engage people returning home, to introduce them to current stakeholders, and to facilitate their community engagement?

Evaluate local programs that target young, talented professionals for civic engagement. Could a similar program be developed for talented seniors? What structures can be created to welcome and engage individuals who had successful careers in other parts of the country, as well as those who worked regionally? What meaningful paid and unpaid opportunities are available? This is not a generation looking to “lick envelopes” – these are talented leaders who can strategically add value and help define solutions to pressing civic issues.

Take a look around and see who’s in town. Identify who is coming home and create a strategy to engage them. It’s mutually beneficial: a win for the community, and a win for seniors. Don’t let stereotypes render top local talent invisible.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.