Be a Generalist First!
Every week, several people ask me about the nonprofit world. Many of the older professionals in the corporate and government worlds want a job change, while younger professionals want direction with new careers. It's wonderful to see such a large number of people with giving and caring hearts. We all know you have to be mission-driven and people-focused to succeed long term in this business. When I'm asked about steps to take in a nonprofit career, I suggest that one be a generalist first.
I was fortunate to leave college and immediately begin a career in development. I was clueless about the term resource development, but I realized very quickly that the career included the acquisition of time, talent and treasure. What I didn't realize is how or where to begin. Working as associate director of development at the University of Louisville, I decided to do two things. First, I contacted 25 universities of similar size and asked them to send me everything they had regarding development. Second, I quickly found a 60-year-old mentor willing to take on a 22-year-old student. My boss allowed me to go on an immediate Eastern Kentucky road trip to see how the mentor generated major and planned gifts through a relationship approach.
Because of my shotgun method, I was quickly exposed to annual, major and planned gifts. In addition, my first real assignment from my boss was to create a development services manual. The manual assignment allowed me to learn about gift policies, data systems, recognition of donors and many other elements in the back office that affected the front office. I also had to create position descriptions and an organizational chart. As an added element, at that time my master's thesis was focused on the annual fund at the University of Louisville. I was responsible for many roles, including direct mail, telephone solicitation, planned giving, alumni relations and student relations. I totally enjoyed being exposed to so many areas of development.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.