Cook Silverman Seeking Advancement Leader for California State Parks Foundation

June 9, 2017 – Greenbrae, CA-based Cook Silverman Search has been selected by the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) to lead its search for a director of advancement. Victoria L. Silverman, co-founder of Cook Silverman, is heading the assignment.

The advancement leader reports directly to the executive director. The individual is expected to work with the board, staff and dozens of partner organizations across the state to help implement a new vision and strategic objectives to galvanize support, increase resources and safeguard parks. Working closely with the board of directors, staff, and volunteers, the director of advancement creates and manages a multi-year fund development and membership plan as well as a comprehensive communications and public relations program designed to support CSPF’s near-term and long-range goals.

The foundation wants the advancement director to have at least 10 years demonstrated and progressively challenging success as a development / advancement professional with experience working for a regional, state-wide or national organization. Candidates must have outstanding interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to build trust and rapport with a range of stakeholders including board members, funders and donors, volunteers and staff.

The California State Parks Foundation is a member-supported non-profit dedicated to protecting, improving and advocating for California’s state parks. Since its founding in 1969, CSPF has worked to help enhance state parks with advocacy, educational programs, capital projects, competitive grants and fundraising, all while building a vast network of park supporters.

West Coast Non-Profit Recruiters

Cook Silverman Search focuses on senior development positions for not-for-profit organizations, predominantly in Northern California. Its client base represents a broad span of organizations, including independent schools, universities and faith-based organizations, as well as those serving conservation, health care, social service, museums, science and culture. The firm has placed advancement executives for Peninsula Family Service, Moreau Catholic High School, Children’s Council of San Francisco and Pinewood School, among others.

Ms. Silverman has more than 30 years of experience in the philanthropic sector. Throughout her career, she has worked in senior fundraising, advancement and management positions at Stanford University, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of California, the American Film Institute, and the Buck Institute for Age Research, among others. Her search work focuses on higher education, the arts, biotech, and environment sectors. She has been speaker for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and has served on fundraising advisory committees for several non-profit organizations.


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Advancement and Fundraising

The economic strength of the non-profit sector has been growing as the economy has expanded and it is now the third largest employer in the U.S. Nearly two million non-profit organizations employ 10.7 million people and produce revenue in excess of $1.9 trillion. That’s leading to some complications for recruiters, who report that non-profits are under varying degrees of pressure to find fundraising leaders.

The field of advancement is an extension of development / fundraising. Over the past two decades, educational institutions and charitable organizations have shifted toward more integrated models of collaboration between communications, marketing, branding and development. Advancement represents the full integration of these functions under a single leader, the chief advancement officer. A recent search on LinkedIn of the title generated more than 30,000 results.

According to recruiters who specialize in the field, advancement talent is being groomed all around the non-profit sector and within organizations that comprehend the direct connectivity between messaging and contributed revenue. The function is only relevant to organizations within the non-profit and education sectors. In the corporate setting these executives are commonly referred to as chief development officers or a chief business development officer.

Recruiters generally say the best training for these positions is experience, noting that there are many industry conferences and summits that are beneficial for benchmarking and learning best practices. And while the best fit for these executives ultimately depends on the culture of the organization, “tenacity and drive” are two traits always required of a successful advancement and development officers, say recruiters.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Chase Barbe, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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