Tag Archives: how to hire a fundraiser

Five Thought Provoking Questions to Ask a Potential New Hire

fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, fundraising jobs, how to hire a fundraiser, interview questions, Saad&ShawNeed 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.

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Nonprofit Fundraising Professional

How to Hire a Fundraiser

Fundraising Fables: Retaining Fund Development Professionals  

To Hire or Plan? Which come first

Next week: Five questions for job candidates to ask!

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.

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  https://fundraisinggoodtimes.com/2012/08/21/how-to-hire-a-fundraiser/

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

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

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

5.     I’ll take a percentage https://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.