Hiring a fundraiser from the for-profit sector

A few weeks ago, I posted a piece about “Hiring a fundraising professional“. It has been one of the more well-read posts year-to-date. Since that post, I’ve had two close friends speak with me about changing their direction in life and pursuing a career path in non-profit work. In addition to providing them with my point-of-view, I found a FREE online resource by idealist.org titled “Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for Sector Switchers“. It is actually a great resource that I suggest you pass along to any of your for-profit friends who might be considering a change.

So, what does this have to do with you hiring a fundraising professional (perhaps even your first fundraising pro)?

I have seen many non-profit organizations go through a search process for a resource development professional and end up with a bushel basket full of for-profit people claiming to possess “transferable skills” (e.g. marketing people, sales professionals, etc).  I have also seen a number of these for-profit professionals fail miserably once they cross the great divide into non-profit work.

After reading “Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for Sector Switchers,” I am convinced that those of you looking to hire fundraising professionals can use this guide to fine tune your search process, sharpen your interview questions, and sell your organization and its culture.

  • Chapter 5 of this guide tells job seekers how to make themselves more appealing to you. Reading this chapter might help you develop a better resume screening process (e.g. looking for for-profit candidates with volunteer, board, and/or internship opportunities).
  • Chapter 7 instructs candidates how to get a sense of organizational culture and assess if there might be a fit. You can turn this around and use the same tactics with the candidate to determine how well they might fit.
  • Chapter 12 addresses the challenges of “switching sectors”. You could use this information during the interview process to determine which candidates have thought this through and how they plan on dealing with the transition.

I could go on and on, but I will let you explore this wonderful resource for yourself. Happy reading!

Have you ever hired or worked with someone who “switched sectors”? How did it work out for them? What do you attribute their success or failure to? Please share your thoughts in the comment section and remember that it might be polite to “change the names to protect the innocent”. LOL

Here is to your health!

Erik Anderson
Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC


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