Smart Hire For the New Year

Find the right talent for your team

As we kick off a new year, let’s make a smart hire for your vacant development position. Nonprofit executives know how hard it is to hire and retain top development talent. It is an extremely competitive job market for successful development professionals and if the candidate does not feel supported at the their new org, they will most likely leave for a job that is a better fit. The result is a stagnation of your fundraising program during staff turnover. You will not be able to meet your fundraising goals with a revolving door of development staff–so let’s work together to make a smart hire.

Why is making a smart hire so hard?

In my experience, the main reasons that nonprofit organizations cannot retain development staff are:

  • Hiring a candidate who does not have the right experience and hope it will work out
  • Not knowing what specific development skills you need on your team to fuel revenue growth
  • Not asking the right questions during the interview process to make a smart hire
  • No support, coaching, or mentorship of new staff
  • Broken development departments with bad data and no systems that feels overwhelming to fix

The data speaks for itself. In a 2021 survey of 1,035 fundraisers in the United States and Canada, conducted by Harris Insights & Analytics, through the Harris Poll, for the Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Association of Fundraising Professionals found that 51% of frontline fundraisers plan to leave their jobs in the next two years. 

Ten years ago CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund commissioned a report, Underdeveloped, that surveyed more than 2,700 executive directors and development directors across the country. The results still ring true in year 2023:

  • Executive directors at organizations where the development director position was vacant said the posts had been open for an average of 6 months. Almost half reported even longer vacancies.
  • More than half of the executives surveyed said their most recent development director search did not produce enough candidates with the right mix of skills and experience.
  • Half the development directors surveyed said they expect to leave their current jobs in two years or less.

So how do you make a smart hire for your unique nonprofit?

Shannon Bowen, Founder and CEO of Monsoon Leadership, advises nonprofits on smart hires for development positions by assessing their current development program and reviewing their goals for growing revenue in the near future (1-3 years) to create an effective staffing plan. She also provides support throughout the hiring process, and also, works to retain the new staff person through structured coaching and training for their first 90 days on the job.

Our process is composed of three phases:

  • Phase 1: Assessment + Staffing Plan
  • Phase 2: Job Description + Hiring
  • Phase 3: Training + Coaching

How is working with Shannon different than a recruiter?

Shannon is a successful development professional with 17 years of experience who has built multiple high-performing teams that retain. With more targeted development knowledge than a recruiter, she brings specific, actionable fundraising expertise to recruiting, hiring, and retaining the right development staff for your organization. Also, as an executive coach, Shannon can spot talent that is ready to step into a leadership role with the right one on one coaching and support.

Smart hire for nonprofits

Ready to stop the revolving door or development staff and make the smart hire you need to fuel revenue growth? Let’s work together and get the talent you need.


Shannon Bowen, Founder + CEO of Monsoon Leadership is a career advancement coach, job search expert, salary whisperer, nonprofit executive, and a lifelong straight-talker. She's dedicated to helping nonprofit professionals land their dream job and dream salary!


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