Hidden talent within your organization – a way to build capacity and infrastructure

FUNdraising Good Times – You can spend your time looking for that “perfect” person to hire or you can look within your organization for hidden talent you can develop.

Finding the right people to advance your fundraising can be challenging. It takes time to identify, recruit, and hire the right person. The competition for people with fundraising experience is fierce, and just because someone has experience doesn’t mean they have the right experience for your organization at this particular time in its history.

While there are no easy answers to the talent acquisition conundrum, there is one suggestion that can make things easier: look within your own organization. Take time to learn who amongst your staff, management, board members, and even your donors can help grow your fundraising.

Start by talking with everyone you can. You want to learn what you don’t know, and combine that with what you do know about your current employees, board members, and volunteers. Find out people’s history and interests– both personal and professional. You want them to tell you about their skillsets, including those they don’t use with your nonprofit. Explore whether or not they might be interested in fundraising. This is an inquiry and a soft-sell. Your goal is to learn whether or not the person you want to hire is already involved with your nonprofit.

Here are seven questions to consider asking during conversations with board members, volunteers, donors, clients, and/or students or alumni:

  1. What is your favorite nonprofit and why?
  2. Which nonprofit organizations or projects have you been involved in?
  3. What was your most positive experience working or volunteering with a nonprofit?
  4. Which of your skills are you most proud of? Which do you like using the best?
  5. Which nonprofits have made an impact on your life or the life of your family and friends?
  6. What are your long term professional and life goals?
  7. Are you open to expanding your knowledge of fundraising?

Here are seven additional questions for conversations with your employees:

  1. What do you like about our organization?
  2. Are we headed in the right direction?
  3. What are your suggestions for how we could improve our fundraising?
  4. Do you have an interest in being involved with the organization beyond your current job description?
  5. If you could create your own job here, what would it look like? What would you do?
  6. What would you need from management to be successful?
  7. How would you like to be recognized and acknowledged for your work?

You are seeking to learn who has fundraising-related transferable skills and experience. Reflect on what you have learned, and ask yourself, can the organization adjust responsibilities so that current employees can play a role in fundraising? Is there a donor or volunteer who could become an ideal board member?

Those who are already involved  with your nonprofit may be your strongest candidates. Before you go outside, take a look inside.

Copyright 2019 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

When you are ready to build a fund development program, grow your fundraising, or increase board engagement we are here to help. (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.

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