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How to Hire a Great Fundraiser

"The best fundraiser is the person who hires the best fundraisers."

I heard this statement years ago, in the name of Rav Noach Weinberg zt”l.
But smaller organizations can struggle to hire great fundraising staff. They typically aren’t glitzy enough to attract an experienced fundraiser, and aren’t big enough to justify the cost.
Here are four strategies to help.

1. Study your current staff.

Does anyone on board have great social skills and passion for your cause? They may be interested in rounding out their skill set by spending some of their time in fundraising.
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.

Three Steps to Success

  • Offer to invest in their professional development with a fundraising coach—it’s still cheaper than hiring a full-time development professional.
  • Spend time building a strategic plan that’s realistic and initial targets that aren’t overwhelming.
  • Offer bonus compensation for meeting fundraising targets.

2. Look for someone who benefits from your organization.

Is there someone who benefited from your organization and would be interested in joining the organization that changed his life? Alumni, former campers?
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,” but are waiting for an opportunity to present itself.
Start by identifying two or three likely candidates. You might find your next star fundraiser.

3. Hire part-time.

It might not be ideal, but there is less risk if it doesn’t work out. And if it does succeed, the position could become full-time.
Do you have a local kollel? College? A beginner with excellent work ethic, smarts and time management skills could have a great ROI.
They probably won’t be able to land a major gift at first, but they could work 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, I recommend Shira Werblowsky.

Three Steps to Success

  • Study the recruiter’s track record. Do they have experience placing candidates in organizations similar to yours?
  • You need to be able to trust your recruiter. Spend enough time getting to know them until you feel comfortable.
  • Do your homework and speak with references. The nonprofit world is relatively small, and you should be able to find a mutual contact.

Hiring a fundraiser can be a great additional income source for your organization. If you need that, what can you do today to make it happen?

B'Hatzlacha Raba Raba,
Avraham

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