The casting above assumes that community foundation asset development is just another version of the art of fundraising. In reality, it is more a science than an art. And therein lays the key to the hiring the right "actor" for the part.
These components top my list of the most important strengths possessed by the ideal candidate:
- He or she is adept at raising donors…not just donations.
- They engage donors by inspiring them to give rather than pressuring them.
- They help donors connect to the community in a way that resonate most with that donor.
- They understand, appreciate, and respect donors and their motivations.
- They realize philanthropy is about values, not transfer payments.
- They are very patient and are committed to creating long-term relationships with donors.
- They operate with the highest ethical standards.
- They are technically competent. Credentials such as CFRE, “Certified Fund Raising Executive,” and the like are good indicators, but a solid understanding of the unique characteristics of a community foundation, common planned giving vehicles, and the situations they best tend to fit are absolute essentials.
- He or she is a strategic thinker and doer. This is a person who can sift through their community foundation’s attributes, identify those that are distinctive in the local marketplace and will resonate best with prospective donors.
When you find someone possessing these attributes, you have a prime candidate for the role. As with any great movie, you need not just great actors and actresses, but they need to be in the right roles with the right script and direction. Finding the right actor or actress to lead your development efforts can help you create a movie that has a very satisfying ending for your community. And if by chance you find more than one possessing these attributes, then hire the one with the nicer suit, bigger smile, etc.