Top 5 Creative Ways to Compete for Development Talent

CompeteforTalentBy Andrew Smerczak-Zorza

You’ve got your eye on a top fundraiser. How do you compete?

Fundraisers are your organization’s lifeblood. Yet, our latest CDO Confidential shows there’s a scarcity of talent, and everybody wants the best and the brightest. Competing for development leaders may come down to compensation. But when you’re on a tight budget, you need to be creative. And intuitive. Here are some ideas.

Flex Time

Work-life balance is important to a lot of people. As an employee benefit, this can mean something as simple as offering the option of working from home when it is not absolutely necessary to be in the office. It takes a certain amount of trust on both sides, but that may not be a concern if you are hiring a proven A-list performer. If the employee can hit development targets and see her daughter perform in the school play, that’s a win for you, a win for your employee, and a win for the family.

Advanced Technology

Enabling your development staff to communicate and collaborate anytime/anywhere doesn’t have to cost a lot, yet it could greatly support their ability to be successful. Software options can give them remote access to account information, emails and voice mails. Sophisticated fundraisers will probably be expecting this kind of technology.

Metrics That Make Sense

You can’t base compensation on dollars raised, but you can find other ways to measure and reward achievement. Maybe it is the number of contacts made in a quarter or the number advanced planning donors brought in for a luncheon. Find out what motivates your development leaders, and then track those metrics as opportunities to earn bonuses.

Organizational Impact

Development directors may desire deeper involvement with the organization, as an opportunity to impact strategic direction. Having one-on-one engagement with board members may appeal to some development leaders. Others may want additional operational responsibilities. Still others may find fulfillment mentoring junior level staff. Expanding responsibilities can expand compensation opportunities, as well.

Personal Development

Even seasoned fundraisers may desire to improve their skills. Being able to attend conferences or take courses can be an appealing benefit that costs far less than a higher compensation package.

Andrew Smerczak-Zorza is an Executive Search Consultant at Campbell & Company.