Recruiting Fundraising Talent in Today’s Job Market
Where are the good old days? In the past, when I sought a development job at the University of Louisville, I applied, like 200 others, for the position. When I left the University of Louisville for positions at Florida International University, University of Charleston and Butler University, I still had to apply and compete with a large pool of talented candidates for open development positions.
There always seemed to be many people wanting nonprofit resource development positions. When attending Association of Fundraising Professionals meetings, I remember the process of communicating with other members just to discuss open or potentially open positions. The pool of candidates was deep, and these candidates had a depth of knowledge and experience in the fundraising profession.
Many of these professionals were in the fundraising profession for life and had mapped a well-thought-out career path that would lead to eventual senior organizational positions.
How times have changed!
The top recruiting challenges for 2022 into 2023 is the shortage of talent. Hiring must be done in a creative fashion. Organizations need to target passive candidates, create a talent pool, look at culture fits for potential hires, and evaluate recruitment costs and recruitment practices. The candidate experience in engagement and contact plus process management must be improved. Marketing mechanisms must be valued and recruiting out of the box should be the norm.
The employment market may have not yet recovered from the pandemic impact. Organizations are having more difficulty discovering, hiring and keeping quality talent. While understanding the talent shortage, organizations must adjust hiring methods, hire internally and offer internships. Improvement must be made in benefits and recruitment processes. Organizations should seek employees that are independent, self-motivated, flexible and proactive. Understand your employees needs and wants and bend over backward to meet these needs while maintaining a positive organizational atmosphere.
When seeking quality fundraising professionals, understand what advertising media, technology and processes are available to ensure success. Create an efficient recruitment management process system. Utilize this process on one single platform with professional assistance. Make sure the candidate experience protects the company brand. At all costs, do not rush into the hiring process for a quick hire, as this will lead to bad hires. Establish a time-to-offer metric that measures performance and results. Evaluate your current recruitment practices and seek ways to improve this system for more effective results.
Every company needs a recruitment strategy. You develop this strategy through improvement in recruiting metrics, setting recruiting goals, investing in recruiting tools, and perfecting the following recruitment strategies.
- Optimize your career page
- Optimize job postings
- Post on social media
- Create employer branding content
- Host recruitment events
- Utilize niche job boards
- Reward employees for helping recruitment
- Build an accessible talent community
- Answer candidate questions online
Recruiting fundraising talent in today’s job market is not easy and must be done as organizations need new talent to fill open current positions plus anticipated future openings. You ideally should secure trained and experienced professionals if possible. As you seek to fill these positions remember to hire individuals who are strategic and long-term thinkers, detail oriented, relationship-oriented and have boldness including persistence.
Good fundraisers, especially major gift fundraisers, are hard to find. These people are unique and possess integrity, intelligence, intuitiveness, organization and persistence while being results focused, donor centric, intrinsically motivated, high energy and sellers. Remember these mental notes when seeking the best fundraising professional for your organization.
The good old days of easily finding fundraising talent on an open market is gone. The nonprofit competition for quality individuals is keen. Hire the best candidate you can find, develop them and, if they are productive, keep them for the long term.
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.