(Team) Building Blocks
A leader of a fundraising organization needs good “people skills,” excellent relationship skills and a global vision to understand how all development functions fit together. You also need good organizational techniques and the ability to review, understand and analyze best-of-class examples. Each fiscal year builds on the previous ones with metrics created for time, talent and treasure. Donors, gifts and dollars are important, but so are increasing the number of volunteers, recruiting new board members and evaluating the quality of programs to determine if you should continue them.
As Christopher Cannon, managing associate at fundraising and development consulting firm Bentz Whaley Flessner, notes, fundraising staff generally should have communication skills, technical aptitude, numeric aptitude, fundraising appreciation, multitasking priorities, discipline, creativity, action orientation and collegiality. Fundraisers should be service-oriented, and it’s especially important that they understand the organization’s mission, vision and culture.
Each staff member has unique needs and wants but must be a fit for the organization. An individual might have technical skills, for example, and while not understanding the arts, religion, education or health fields, might relate perfectly to a human-services organization.
Organizations sometimes have staffs that are too young and inexperienced or too old and inflexible, or staffs that are out of sync with donors, volunteers or the individuals that receive organizational services. The ideal team includes male and female members with varying levels of experience.
Fundraising success “comes down to people,” says William Moran, founder of The Moran Co., which specializes in nationwide executive searches for fundraising and development staff, executive directors, and other senior nonprofit positions. Different types of fundraising require different types of staff skills. According to Moran, a successful nonprofit staff includes attributes that encompass a regional residence to know the population served; passion for the mission; self-starter tendencies; history of productive fundraising; ability and desire to get out of the office; annual-, major- and planned-gift fundraising experience; listening and promotional skills; ability to work with volunteers; and individuals with collaborative work styles. Employees should be inclined to stay on the job for at least five years!
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.