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professional fundraisers

Professional Fundraisers: Hiring Great Ones

by Sandra Pfau Englund on Dec 12, 2019

Maybe you just started a nonprofit, or lead a national chapter organization. Perhaps you want to expand your work. Whatever the case, at some point, you may seek a professional fundraiser. But, that's often easier said than done. It's an open secret that excellent fundraisers are not easy to find and hard to retain. A Harris Poll study published results for The Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Association of Fundraising Professionals reported that about half of all fundraisers plan to leave their positions within the next two years.

The turnover rate of fundraisers has been a problem for years. Many reasons exist for this problem. For instance, pay at nonprofit groups can be less than competitive. Also, many nonprofits don't know how to grow to scale, such as expanding into chapters. Thus, many groups remain as small nonprofits, barely raising the funds they need. Still, finding and keeping a fundraiser is important for many groups. 

Why does it make sense to invest in a fundraiser?

If you lead a group that is innovating and growing, it makes sense to hire a professional fundraiser. In fact, it's probably very needed. As a leader, your job is to figure out ways to give your programs to more people. Perhaps you've developed to the point where you want to grow to other parts of town or cities. Deciding about growth and maybe starting other chapters takes a lot of work. But, a top professional fundraiser will help you achieve those goals. The following tips will help make sure of your present but also develop sustained success

TIP 1: Start with taking an internal look at who you need as a professional fundraiser

When you decide to hire a fundraiser, think of who you need in that role. In other words, not all professional fundraisers are alike. For instance, you may lead a stand-alone nonprofit. In that case, you might need different skills than if you led a sizeable national chapter group. As an example, in the latter case, you need someone with experience in working in complex organizations. So, think of your strengths and weaknesses as you write a job description for a professional fundraiser. Also, consider the qualities of the person depending on the work needed, but also your nonprofit culture.

TIP 2: Hire talent that has excellent soft skills, including emotional intelligence

While having a proven background as a fundraiser, is important, soft skills are equally essential. In other words, you want to hire a professional fundraiser who has drive, motivation, and communication skills. But, also because fundraisers usually deal with people of all backgrounds, your hire has to have high emotional intelligence as well. Emotional intelligence has 5 essential characteristics. 1. Self-awareness 2. Self-regulation 3. Empathy 4. Motivation 5. Social skill. Remember how important it is for fundraisers, who deal with many people, to possess these skills.

TIP 3: Realize that an introvert can be an excellent professional fundraiser

Nonprofit leaders must hire fundraisers with excellent people skills. But, that doesn't mean that an introvert can't be a people person as well. By definition, extroverts get their energy from other people. On the other hand, introverts prefer to recharge by themselves or small groups. Nevertheless, introverts can still make excellent fundraisers. For instance, because introverts prefer to be in smaller groups, and are thoughtful, they can serve as excellent fundraisers for high-level giving.

TIP 4: If you don't have the money, ask a donor to help you build capacity

Let's say you've decided to start a nonprofit or seek a professional fundraiser to take you to the next level. Still, you might not have the money. There are a few ways that you can get the money needed. For example, you can seek a capacity-building grant. If you happen to have a great relationship with a foundation, you can ask about it. Foundations know that if you seek a top-notch fundraiser, you will raise more money and grow. That's a good thing! Another idea for the money is to ask an individual donor to donate the salary of a fundraiser for one to three years.

Tip 5: Don't look for the black book of donors

Finally, one thing you don't want to do is to ask fundraisers to bring their "book" of donors. Remember, donors belong to nonprofit groups, and not to the fundraiser. Also, donors support nonprofits, including yours, because they care about the cause. Instead, ensure fundraisers have proven experience and passion for your cause. If they care and have the experience, they will understand how to build and grow the network of supporters in your nonprofit.



RENOSI is the leader in helping national organizations set up and manage affiliate chapters. Setting up local, regional and state affiliate chapters is an excellent way to grow your national organization. Managing hundreds and even thousands of chapters, however, is time-consuming and difficult.

Since its inception, RENOSI has provided a simple and stress-free solution to help obtain and maintain tax-exempt status for over 4,000 nonprofits. With the interactive myRENOSI dashboard, our partners can organize their state and federal registrations, allowing our team of experts to help ensure your tax-exempt status is not revoked.