Need a magic cure for nonprofit fundraising blues? Hire fundraising staff. That’s it. Problem solved. Time to get back to what we were focusing on before we “got sidetracked” into all this fundraising. Ah…. if only that were the case.
If you have funds to hire staff how will you know you are hiring the right person? How will you evaluate this person? Will you know how to manage and coach your new hire? Will you depend on their progress reports to know whether or not they are “doing their job?”
We raise these questions because we have found many organizations seek to build a fundraising program or increase their fundraising by making a new hire. That can be the right solution, but there are other prerequisites that need to be in place for a fundraising professional to be successful. Alas, making a hire is not the silver bullet!
Earlier columns address things to consider when hiring. You can find links at the bottom of this post. In this column we offer five questions to ask during the interview process. A candidate’s responses can provide insights to help you determine who is best qualified to help you meet your fundraising goals.
- How do you feel about asking for money? This is really at the core of fundraising. Feelings about money – and people who have money – color many people’s consciousness and can interfere with fundraising. At a basic level being afraid to ask for a gift means a fundraising professional may hesitate when soliciting. Confusing one’s own economic conditions with those who have more can cloud a solicitation with an unconscious attitude of “they have enough, they should just give us some.”
- Share with me a professional or volunteer project you started and developed into something meaningful that you are proud of. Please share the challenges you faced, the solutions you proposed, and lessons learned.
- How do you want to be evaluated at the end of your first year working with our organization? Answers to this question can provide insights into what is important to a candidate, and how they evaluate their work.
- What resources and support do you believe you would need to succeed in this position? Learning a candidate’s expectations can help you prepare to bring him into your organization. You may also learn that you need to be better prepared to work with a professional, or that he has expectations you may not be able to meet.
- How would prepare for this position? This lets candidates know you expect them to prepare: success in a new position is a two-way street. How a person prepares for a new job may also reveal how they prepare for a solicitation or new campaign.
Additional reading on hiring fundraising professionals:
Image courtesy of Ambro 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.