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.”