Diverse pools are a means to an end. Building diverse teams, while involving more intention than building diverse pools, is also only a means to an end. It takes diverse teams, working in an inclusive culture, and making the diversity of the team count, to engage more stakeholders and raise more money. Diversity is not only a moral imperative—the “right thing to do”—it is a business imperative for everyone involved in nonprofit leadership and philanthropy: boards, volunteers, CEOs, C-suite leaders, and engagement and fundraising professionals. Until everyone involved in the recruitment process understands and can articulate diversity as essential to stakeholder engagement and fundraising outcomes, recruitment efforts will fall short.
“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.”
Your ability to quickly reset your organization’s overall financial situation after COVID-19 will likely depend on attracting significant philanthropy. While all arms of your organization will make difficult sacrifices, your advancement team may be key to protecting your organization’s long-term viability, and you must work closely with leadership to assess, rethink, and reset critical staffing decisions.
There is no single decision-making process and structure that will work for every organization in every search. But laying out important considerations and making choices in advance will help hiring managers — and the search firm partners who assist them — achieve the best possible search outcomes.