In a recent blog post we explored the process utilized by myself on several previous occasions for selecting an executive director for a nonprofit. I am going to build upon that process a bit and share a viewpoint regarding the immense need for an acumen with fundraising for that role.

If more than 50% of the nonprofit’s funding must come from various fundraising processes, any new executive director must not only have experience in fundraising but must also embrace it as the top priority of the new role.

Here are the four reasons by way of four realities.

Scott Harrison - charity: water

Reality #1

Let’s face it: if the fundraising dollars do not roll in, then the organization is always operating in crisis mode. This is never productive!

Reality #2

No matter how strong of a fundraising team there is in place at any nonprofit, they will ALWAYS produce much more if the executive director is intimately involved! Every major donor, funder and sponsor desires to have a personal connection with the head of the organization and to hear the vision from that person.

Reality #3

If you want a financially committed board who embraces fundraising involvement you had better have an executive director leading by example, since that is who the vast majority of their interactions with your nonprofit happen with!

Reality #4

If your nonprofit has a need for strong operations leadership and fundraising leadership it is rare to find one person who truly excels at both. You are better off with choosing someone with the fundraising ability and hiring a strong operations person as the second in command.

Joanne Fritz explores this subject further here.

I see this play out daily via my involvement with the nonprofit sector as a board chairman and/or board member as well as a major donor to numerous nonprofits. In addition, my past and current experience in providing fundraising software to over 25,000 nonprofits naturally brings this need and those four realities to the forefront.

How about those of you out there reading this post? Do you agree or not? If you agree, have I missed any other reasons/realities?  If you don’t agree, why?

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Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.