Friday, November 13, 2015

Finding New Donor Relations Talent

Very often in circles of experienced donor relations professionals, we can spot folks who are "like us" or "get it". My eye is constantly set on the horizon, looking for new talent to join the ranks of donor relations professionals. But what are the key characteristics of a donor relations professional? I put the question to two members of the DRG Group and here were their answers:

Problem solving

Data analysis
Warmth and graciousness

Additional skills:
Ability to Multi-task
Grace under pressure
No prima donnas—we’ve all done our share of setting up tables and chairs, lugging ice, stuffing envelopes
Team player

I would have to say this makes for a wonderfully succinct list. I'm always looking for people who are independent problem solvers with a knack for chameleon like behavior with many audiences. I always have my eye out for someone who understands the overall picture and their role in it. Think part swiss army knife and part laser beam, with a hindering inability to say "no". Someone with a can do attitude that others want to collaborate with. 

Someone who has past customer service or hospitality industry experience is a wonderful fit for the career, someone who understands service recovery and how to even prevent the need for it. We also look for someone who can shift gears and be adaptable. How do they handle crisis? Picture a duck on the surface of a pond, swimming peacefully and underneath paddling like crazy.  Donor relations don't come to us with a large printed D on their chest, touting tons of experience, but it's how we grow and nurture innate talents in them and incorporate those talents into our inspiring work. Are you looking for a donor relations professional to join your team? Need a list of names of up and coming talent? Let us know in the DRG Group, we're here to serve. What other attributes can we add to this list to help us spot talent? I would love to hear your thoughts.



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  2. I would add tenacity to the list. Often we find ourselves having to continue to tout the benefits of changing a process, implementing a new idea, making our organizations more donor-centered, before real change can occur. I recently heard someone in an interview call this "stick-to-it-ness".

  3. So I was just chatting with my corporate (née donor) relations manager and she said she'd add "must like people." At first I thought, well that goes without saying. But all those other things you mention go without saying to AND sometimes we forget them because of that.

  4. Great article and very timely for us! Tulane University is currently searching for two Donor Relations Officers. The positions are posted at Tell your friends who possess the great qualities listed above about the postings!