Thursday, March 1, 2012

Picking Your Next Major Gifts Officer

Earlier today, job seekers learned about the qualities they need to become a Major Gifts Officer.  Now let's take a look at what types of people employers should look at when they are hiring one.

Let's face it: If you don't hire the right person, all of your organization's fundraising efforts will be for naught.  When picking a candidate to be your next Major Gifts Officer, the temptation will be to go for someone who already has a strong background in fundraising.  That is definitely an important characteristic, but you will be well-served to go after individuals with more diverse backgrounds.

At a recent Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) International Conference, Holly Duncan, president and CEO of the Morton Plant Mease Health Care Foundation in Clearwater, Fla., outlined the qualities she looks for in a Major Gifts Officer.  Consider using her tips the next time you have an opening for this important position.
  • Techies: People who have a lot of experience with technology will be able to use this knowledge to better connect with major gift prospects.  They might also have qualifications to research, schedule, communicate, and document gifts efficiently.
  • Intellectual Capacity: You don't just want someone with traditional book smarts.  Seek out a candidate who is a problem solver and can think quickly on their feet.
  • Communication: A Major Gifts Officer will have to talk to many different people frequently.  Therefore, it is essential that the individual can express themselves clearly.  This includes both written and verbal communications.  The ability to ask open-ended questions will be key to performing their tasks.
  • Team Player: A lot of the work in this position is independent, but you still want someone who can work effectively with all different types of people.  There needs to be transparency and an attempt to engage co-workers.  Remember: No one owns a donor.

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