Daily Nuggets: Blog
Funding ideas, motivational nuggets and stories from For Impact.

Think Talent… Not Background

Tom Suddes | January 18, 2006

I recently spoke with one of my favorite people in Development. She’s in the Northwest, responsible for PRINCIPLE (Major) GIFTS, and is very committed, competent, and caring … along with absolutely passionate about her “CAUSE”.

They’ve been without a Vice President for Development for a year. They’ve hired an executive search firm, placed ads in the Chronicle , etc. Can’t get anyone.

This is a great organization, and it would be a great “POSITION”.

HERE’S THE CHALLENGE:

EVERY ‘NONPROFIT’ in the world is looking for a Vice President for Development … a Director of Development … Major Gift Officers … Senior-Level Development Staff!!!

Note: I said “EVERY”. I meant that. Look at the back of any Chronicle of Philanthropy . There are 23 pages of ads with more than 150 “openings”… ALL looking for the same person(s)!!!

The SOLUTION to this CHALLENGE is NOT in trying to WOO “Senior Development People” from their current jobs …with MORE MONEY and perhaps a DIFFERENT TITLE!

You’ve got to CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK!!!

I suggested to my friend that she is in a city with incredible BUSINESS and ENTREPRENEURIAL TALENT . They need to look at those wonderful individuals who are ready to move from ‘SUCCESS to SIGNIFICANCE’ … bringing with them great experience, a proven skill set and a great ATTITUDE!

I believe there are many, many more talented individuals with SALES, ENTREPRENEURIAL and BUSINESS EXPERIENCE available to the For Impact world … than there are available “Experienced Fundraising/Development Officers”!!!

Remember: HIRE FOR ATTITUDE . TRAIN FOR SKILL.

Don’t want to ramble here, so I’ll make some “bullet points” to support this thought.

  • Ideal Profile. Create the IDEAL PROFILE for the position you’re looking for. Use a “HEAD … HEART … HAND” Model (Intelligence, Passion and Skill).*The Ideal Profile for this great For Impact Organization would be somebody who is already been touched or directly involved with the CAUSE, already LED a sales team or a company, understands vision, goals, success, etc. … someone who just “GETS IT”.
  • Talent Spectrum. Look at both ends of this spectrum. In this case, they are looking at the right side for the right fit .
  • Hollywood Talent Agencies. They hire for the role and the project . Every movie is a project. People come together. Do their best work. Disband.

*I think you could get incredible TALENT with the idea that someone would come in for 1,000 days (not quite 3 years) and make a HUGE IMPACT !

No disrespect intended, but most “experienced Development Officers” have experienced one year of fundraising 15 or 20 times. They also bring a huge amount of “BAGGAGE”, mostly tied to a MODEL that worked in the 1950′s and 1960′s … and never really changed in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s.

BOTTOM LINE: You can’t just “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX”.

You’ve literally got to say, “WHAT BOX?”


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