Hiring a fundraiser? Six questions to get you started.

Free Download: Bringing a Development Director on Board Are you excited about hiring a new fundraiser?

While looking at all those exciting resumes, it’s easy to forget to bring the necessary rigor to your interview. Don’t get swayed by all those gobs of money allegedly raised!

As we learned from the ground breaking study UnderDeveloped, it’s really hard finding a fundraiser you can afford with the experience you need. Don’t be charmed by the individual and hire for all the wrong reasons. We share our cautions in our article: The Ten Worst Reasons For Hiring Your Development Director 

To be more confident about who you hire, be meticulous about reference checking.

Another screen is to be very thoughtful about the types of questions you ask in your interviews. Here are some tips:

What kinds of questions do you want to ask in your interview?

  • Because you need someone with both fundraising knowledge and the ability to execute, ask questions that probe for technical skills in action.
  • Consider questions that uncover the candidate’s personal attributes, like creativity, passion for achievement or people skills.
  • Be sure to ask about your candidate’s approach to work to help you understand how they might fit in your workplace.
  • Because you wanted dedicated professionals, ask about professional membership, professional development and service to the profession or philanthropy.
  • And of course, it’s important to know where they are heading, so ask about their future ambitions and goals.

Extremely important, in my mind, are questions that get to what the individual actually did. Get your candidate to say:  “I did” rather than “we did.”

Here are few sample questions for your fundraiser and development director candidates

  1. Describe a fundraising project you ran in which volunteers played an important role. Explain what they did, and how you recruited, trained and motivated these volunteers.
  2. Describe your greatest accomplishment as a fundraising professional. What did you do to bring it about?
  3. Describe the toughest decision you’ve had to make professionally. How did you handle that? .
  4. How would the employees you supervise describe you as a manager? As a leader?
  5. What are your expectations of me (the CEO) in fundraising? Board members? Other staff?
  6. What aspects of fundraising do you enjoy the most? What do you enjoy the least?

You can find more questions and more on hiring in Bringing a Development Director on Board, the booklet I co-wrote for the AFP Ready Reference Series. Just click the link above for a free download.

This post was originally published in July 2014. 

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