AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

BlogTop Characteristics to Look for When Hiring a Fundraising Professional

Subscribe to AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

Fundraising professional at ribbon cutting.

Top Characteristics to Look for When Hiring a Fundraising Professional

Fundraising professional at ribbon cutting.Hiring a Fundraising Professional

The National Council of Nonprofits recently shared the results of a survey indicating that 60% of nonprofits have challenges in recruiting talent, while 44% of nonprofits have experienced staff turnover during the recent economic downturn. Couple this with the U.S. Board of Labor Statistics June 2023 report, with the national unemployment rate at 3.6%, it may be difficult to find the right fundraising professional to fill a vacant position for your nonprofit. If you’re unable to find a candidate with previous fundraising experience on their resume and are willing to invest in training, here is a list of characteristics to look for in a less experienced candidate.

Top Characteristics:

Willingness to learn

A candidate who is willing to learn from others, attend training, classes, and workshops and network with others in the community can be taught the essentials of fundraising. Many communities have a local Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) chapter that can help an individual enhance their knowledge and connect with other professionals in the field.

Passion for the organization or cause

A person may have a background in fundraising, but if they are not passionate about your organization or cause their fundraising approach may not be as effective. Individuals with a passion for your cause will be able to effectively communicate and share with others the importance of and need to support your organization. Prospects will be more likely to give if they believe your internal team is committed and believes in the work your organization is doing in the community.

Good communication skills

Good communication begins with listening. For example, a development officer needs to listen to the donor’s interests and intent to be able to propose funding opportunities that are relevant to their pursuits. Listening also leads to knowing when the time may be right for making a major gift ask. Additionally, development officers should be social to build a relationship and establish common ground with donors. Through the relationship, the development officer will be able to determine the best way to continue communication with a donor, whether it be by phone call, text, email, etc.

Donations Goal / Results TargetGoal or results-oriented

Individuals who are driven by a fundraising goal will continue to work to raise the needed funds to complete your project, coming up with new tactics and approaches until your intended goal is reached.


When it comes to making a charitable gift, prospects may not feel the urgency to respond to requests to meet. It may take several attempts to reach a prospect to have a conversation. An individual who keeps pursuing prospects, approaching corporations for sponsorships and submitting grant applications will eventually receive responses for positive results.


Nonprofit personnel or volunteers who are approaching fundraising professional prospects may learn private information about an individual’s giving capacity and previous contributions. It is important that the fundraising adviser keeps knowledge of such information confidential. Additionally, a fundraising professional should follow up with tasks asked of them by a prospective donor and organization leadership.

Our AMPERAGE fundraising advisers have 25 years of experience working in fundraising for nonprofit organizations. We can provide insight and feedback to draft development personnel job descriptions, conduct training opportunities or provide ongoing guidance and mentoring of staff. Contact our AMPERAGE fundraising team at, 319.291.9151, or to learn more.

Written by:

Melissa provides fundraising counsel for AMPERAGE’s nonprofit clients, leading feasibility studies and providing solutions that drive successful fundraising campaign results. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), she uses her experience and extensive skill set to continually advance her fundraising practices and develop campaign-specific strategies, materials and training to help clients reach their campaign goals and advance their mission. Melissa has vast experience working in the nonprofit sector, having served in development and leadership roles with Sisters of Mercy and the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, she has served as a volunteer and board member with local nonprofits, such as the Catherine McAuley Center. Faith-based organizations and causes are of particular interest to Melissa. Melissa moves the needle by always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve professionally. She is currently president of the Eastern Iowa Planned Giving Council and a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Eastern Iowa Chapter. Melissa holds a Master of Strategic Leadership degree from Mount Mercy University. This busy professional, wife and mother enjoys sports and live music in her free time. A fan of Cubs baseball and Iowa Hawkeye football, Melissa and family enjoy football tailgating, where she’s known for her breakfast burritos. She enjoys the local band scene but says a Foo Fighters concert is her all-time favorite.