December 23, 2009

Evaluating the performance of development staff is not about money.

I could be the best development officer around (and I was darn good, by the way!) But if program quality is weak (and it was, by the way), then fund development is tough. In a bad economy, fund development is tough, too.

So what criteria do you use to evaluate the performance of your development staff? You evaluate things like this:

— How effectively does your development officer enable volunteer performance, including that of board members?

— How effectively does your development staff apply the documented knowledges required in good fund development?

— How effectively does your development officer communicate the body of knowledge / best practice in fund development to staff colleagues, board members, other volunteers?

Consider the criteria you use to evaluate the performance of your CEO, other senior management? Things like: oral and written communications, planning and budgeting, working well with others. More things like: representing the organization well in the community, recruiting and retaining staff.

But how about the money, those important charitable contributions, you ask?

— First, how effectively does your development officer lead the budgeting process to set an appropriate charitable contributions goal? (I’ve blogged before about the many variables that affect setting the charitable contributions goal.)

— Second, how well does your development staff control the controllable variables, compensate for the uncontrollable variables (e.g., economy), communicate the trends and implications to the organization, and build the capacity of the organization to maximize charitable contributions?

So those are today’s thoughts. Maybe one of these days, I’ll develop a performance appraisal process for development officers. See my job description for the chief development officer. See, also, my performance appraisal for the CEO, which can help you develop your own performance appraisal process for the development officer.


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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