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 money.

As you present your skills and abilities in a résumé, be sure to highlight outcomes. This will give hiring managers confidence that you can have the impact that they and their organizations desire. You do not need to write multiple paragraphs for each outcome, but including specific, measurable details will more clearly and convincingly demonstrate your potential for impact. And while you should be mindful to share credit with colleagues—talking about team accomplishments as well as your own—the reader of your résumé will want to know the results of your work, not merely read a description of your work.

Here are a few examples of commonly used résumé phrases that paint an incomplete picture of a candidate’s capability, contrasted with examples that focus on outcomes (in italics):

“Led a team of 60.”
  • “Reshaped the advancement team to support organizational goals. Reassigned 10 staff members to positions better aligned with their skills and aspirations, added 15 new positions, and transitioned seven out of the organization, bringing the total team to 60.” 
“Made diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority for the team.”
  • “Created fully engaged Inclusion Council. Assessed DEI in relation to all processes and activities and set measurable goals. Surpassed DEI goals for volunteer recruitment ahead of projection, and on track to hit goals in other areas. Reduced staff turnover by 50% and increased employee satisfaction by more than 30% in three years.”
“Managed a portfolio of 100 prospective donors who gave more than $2 million.”
  • “Managed portfolio of 100 prospective donors. Increased organization’s knowledge of philanthropic objectives of donors and their families from three donors to more than 60. Met engagement strategy target of involving at least three organizational representatives in each relationship; achieved this goal for 80 out of 100 prospective donors. Increased collective annual fund and major gift giving of portfolio from $600,000 to $2,100,000 annually.”
“Led a team that managed more than 60 events each year.”
  • “Assessed event effectiveness, leading to decrease in annual events from 80 to 60. Increased attendance at each event by an average of 50%. Increased constituent satisfaction with events by 25%. Increased engagement of targeted constituencies including individuals identifying as LGBTQ, alumni living in the Pacific Northwest, and parents of current students.”
“Managed a team of 10 major gift officers.”
  • “Built a team of major gift officers from eight to 10, reshaped donor portfolios, and increased engagement of major gift prospective donors by 40%.”
“Led a campaign that raised $12 million.”
  • “Led campaign that raised $12 million on $10 million goal, more than twice the amount raised in previous campaign. Engaged 1,500 new donors, increased the number of Black and Hispanic campaign volunteers from two to over 30, changed identification and cultivation practices for women resulting in a 500% increase in major gifts by women, and secured the organization’s first-ever seven-figure gift.”
“Stewarded all major, principal, and planned gift donors.”
  • “Prepared annual stewardship reports for 1,200 donors with endowed funds. Identified more than 50 donors with bequest intentions who were not receiving any regular stewardship. Worked with major and planned giving to develop a long-term stewardship plan for over 300 donors with a known bequest intention. Worked with major and principal gift officers, vice president and president’s office to create and standardize customized stewardship strategies for all donors whose lifetime giving surpassed $1 million.” 
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