Jewish organizations with budgets less than $1M can struggle to hire great fundraising staff.
They typically aren’t glitzy enough to attract an experienced fundraiser nor big enough to justify the cost. But right now it may be different.
It could be a great time to snap up someone talented, who, due to our current economic reality, may have become available.
Here are four strategies to help.
1. Look at your current staff.
Often the best fundraisers are the ones delivering the services—rebbeim, outreach professionals—since they know the impact of their work firsthand and are passionate about it.
Who in your organization - together with great social skills and a passion for your cause - needs an increase in salary? Giving them fundraising responsibility could be a solution to the salary they need.
In addition, offer to invest in their professional development; it’s still cheaper than hiring a full-time development professional.
Hiring should be looked at as a longer term investment. Invest now and gain the real benefit in a few years.
Build a ‘success plan’ with a clarity of what is expected of the new hire. Make sure it’s realistic and that initial targets are achievable.
Expectations for year one could be as little as covering costs plus a small amount extra. And you can offer bonus compensation for meeting fundraising targets.
2. Look for someone who has benefited from your organization.
Is there someone who benefited from and wants to give back to the organization that impacted their life? And earn at the same time? Alumni, participants?
Specifically, look for people in sales positions (who already have related skills), or who are at a turning point in their career.
Many people would love the chance to work for something “meaningful". Start by identifying two or three likely candidates. Ask them. You might find your next star fundraiser.
3. Consider hiring a part-time fundraiser.
This could be an ideal way of hiring. There is also less risk if it doesn’t work out. And if it does, the position could become full-time.
Do you have a local kollel? Or college? A beginner with excellent work ethic, smarts and time management skills could have a great return on investment.
They probably won’t be able to land a major gift at first, but they could work up to it and at the same time focus on with mid- and lower-level donors you aren't able to invest time in.
4. Hire an executive recruiter.
For those nonprofits who are big enough to require a more experienced fundraiser, hiring an executive recruiter to do the work for you has many benefits.
(For a great recruiter in the Jewish nonprofit world, Shira Werblowsky comes highly recommended.)
Study the recruiter’s track record. Do they have experience placing candidates in organizations similar to yours?
Do your homework and speak with references. The mosdos Torah world is relatively small, and you should be able to find a mutual contact.
Bringing It Together
Making a successful hire can be a great additional income source for your organization. And adding income streams is key for surviving and thriving right now.
As I heard said in the name of Rav Noach Weinberg zt”l. "The best fundraiser is the person who hires the best fundraisers."
What can you do this week to see if this is possible for your organization?
B'Hatzlacha Raba Raba,