Who Should You Hire to be Your Director of Development??

Sections of this topic

    Let me start with who you shouldn’t hire: your buddy, someone who’s been “active” in the community, a “popular” person, or someone who just got out of banking or marketing. Dismiss all the thoughts/suggestions that first come to mind.

    This is serious stuff.

    The best directors of development are those who have served in various positions in development, have “worked their way up” – and have made a real effort to learn what development/fundraising is all about. They need not be experts in all areas, but they must be great organizers/planners.

    In 30+ years in development, I’ve met lots of D.O.D.s. And, what’s scary, is that so many of them weren’t people. Too many wanted to sit at a desk, do paperwork, and go home at 5 o’clock. Since development is about relationships, pick someone who is comfortable working with people, and who makes people comfortable working with him/her.

    And, since s/he is going to get lots of grief trying to move board and staff to “do it differently,” it’ll have to be a strong person.

    Of course, it has to be someone who is (or can become) committed to the NPO’s mission and can be creative about figuring out how to “sell” what the NPO is and does.

    Smarts wouldn’t hurt. S/he must be able to step back and see the organization from the perspective of the donor. S/he must be objective, able to see the NPO’s weaknesses as well as its strengths, and must (often) be able to show the donor how his/her support can convert the former to the latter.

    A college degree doesn’t make a director of development, but s/he has to be a self-starter and must have an (almost a compulsive) need to see a project through to completion.

    And, from personal experience, the one criterion I put at the top of the list when screening hiring your Director of Development -DOD candidates, does s/he like puzzles/games.

    Have a question about starting or expanding your fundraising? Email me at AskDCA@Major-Capital-Giving.com. With over 30 years of counseling in major gifts, capital campaigns, bequest programs, and the planning studies to precede these three, we’ll work to answer your question.