As the economy heats up, so has the job market for good fundraisers.  The problem: the pool of talent is thin and the qualified candidates get snapped up quickly.  This has led many nonprofits to look beyond traditional fundraisers for candidates from other fields. As hospitals and colleges (typically the most sophisticated nonprofits) search for prospective employees, they have developed personality screens to identify those most likely to succeed as fundraisers.  Here’s what they look for:

  • A candidate who is results driven
  • A person of integrity
  • An engaging communicator
  • A person with passion for the mission
  • Someone with emotional intelligence
  • A person with tenacity

These characteristics are the same characteristics that sales managers look for in their top salespeople.  My brother is a sales manager for a pharmaceutical company out West.  He consistently looks for these qualities in his sales force (and his region consistently wins the awards for top sales).  Now, nonprofit leaders are catching up to the business world and realizing that fundraisers are essentially salespeople and are hiring accordingly.

If you’re a current fundraiser and struggling in your job, ask yourself if you meet the characteristics listed above.  If not, you may be in the wrong line of work.  Or perhaps, you just need some sales training to get better.  There are plenty of good courses and programs available to help you.

If you’re a nonprofit leader or a Board member and your organization is looking for a quality fundraiser, consider looking outside the typical candidate pool for sales oriented candidates that can learn the intricacies of the nonprofit world.