May 23, 2009

What’s the job? What skills and knowledge do you need?

The chief development officer is a senior staff person. At the table with the other senior staff and the CEO. S/he must see the big picture, not just the tactical details. You know, the big picture of the organization, not the smaller picture of the development office.

Some development officers are great technicians. But that’s not enough. The best fundraisers are organizational development specialists, too. These strategic leaders realize that most fundraising problems are not fundraising problems. Most fundraising problems arise from some other area in the organization, and then affect fund development.

So what kind of development officer are you? And if you’re hiring a development officer, what kind are you looking for? Just a great technician, or more? You choose. Read my monograph, Choosing Your Road and learn what it means to be a great fundraiser.

Visit CFRE International and make sure you know the right stuff. Read books (check out the CFRE International booklist for a good start). Pursue continuing education from the many professional associations out there. Like AFP, AHP, ALDE, CASE, and so many more. Check out the various academic opportunities like the Philanthropy and Development Program at Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota. Visit the Fundraising School at the Center on Philanthropy.

So many opportunities. Get out there and develop yourself.

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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