By Ronald J. Schiller and Michael Vann Organizations are looking to hire professionals who can drive outcomes. In the world of philanthropy, they need colleagues capable of establishing productive relationships, building effective teams, engaging constituents more deeply, and raising more…
Our team has found that applicants who build a strong case for their candidacy are often the most successful in advancing in the search process. In the same way that fundraisers leverage relationship management skills and a tailored strategy to each engagement, candidates should apply those principles to each job application. ALG’s search management team offers candid advice to candidates so that they can build their strongest case and increase their chances of securing rewarding roles.
Nnontraditional candidates often think their experience and skills are obvious, and as a result, fail to adequately explain how their professional experience makes them qualified to raise money. “A lot of people say, ‘I did sales, so I can do this,’ but you have to connect the dots” more explicitly for organizations hiring fundraisers, Michael Vann, Vice President for Search Management says. “They want their own language repeated back to them,” he says. They want to hear about specific responsibilities a would-be fundraiser held in previous jobs and how that will make the candidate successful in building relationships and securing gifts.
“Unwillingness on the part of the fundraising profession to pay attention to transferable skills has not only diminished the pipeline of talent, but also diminished success in objectives for the profession to become more diverse,” says Ron Schiller of Aspen Leadership Group. “We’re missing out on plenty of people with strong skills and relevant passion who could put those skills to work for something that matters deeply to them.”
The loss of revenue, the increase of unexpected expenses, and for some the decreased value of endowments due to coronavirus have left many nonprofits scrambling to make payroll. Unfortunately, the options to correct the financial challenges may include cutting salaries, furloughing staff, and laying off staff members. Aspen Leadership Group is one of the few search firms in the country offering free career counseling to nonprofit and advancement professionals and we offer 11 tips based on conversations and personal experience to help those affected prepare for their next job search.
ALG’s Search Team interacts with hundreds of advancement professionals each week. Today, these interactions are increasingly focused on navigating careers during an uncertain time. While candidates are concerned about their own positions or about an interrupted career trajectory, they also are developing new skills, deepening relationships with donors, and working in ways that they never imagined. Here is what we are hearing from candidates and recommendations we are sharing with them.
People who focus on the negative, or allow the focus of a conversation to shift to the negative, rarely get the job.
Yet fundraisers—even highly experienced ones—often bungle the online interview, executive recruiters say. Here are tips from recruiters and search committee participants to help you prepare for your next interview.
Interviews are an opportunity to confirm to the hiring committee that you will be an asset to their team. Learn how to prepare, showcase strengths, and avoid common mistakes.
While your résumé highlights your experience and qualifications—the “hard” skills that you possess—your cover letter offers the hiring manager insights into your passion and suitability for the organization’s mission.