chapter 34 Hiring a Development Director

As small organizations grow, they grapple with the ongoing need to raise more and more money as well as manage the infrastructure (databases, volunteers, website, social media, research, communication, reporting, and the like) required to do so. Inevitably, they must consider hiring someone to take charge of the fundraising function. This is a difficult decision. An organization is gambling that the investment of salary—money they often barely have—is going to generate much more money than they are currently raising. The gamble will pay off if the person they hire is effective, the board already accepts its role in fundraising, and the organization has its basic infrastructure in place—that is, a fundraising program that includes accurate goal setting, good data management, and relatively predictable revenue. However, there is little margin for error. What if the person isn’t skilled enough or isn’t a good worker? What if everything is in place, but the fundraising program takes longer than planned to bring in the needed funds—how will the organization support itself in the meantime? And—most common—what if the organization doesn’t have the infrastructure in place yet and needs to hire someone with the skills to make it happen?

To avoid the problems that can arise from these situations, three issues must be clarified before your organization decides to hire a staff person to manage fundraising: the role of the fundraiser or development ...

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