February 22, 2018 – Museums are increasingly turning to specialist recruiters to help fill critical senior-level leadership roles. Aspen Leadership Group, an executive recruitment firm based in Aspen, CO, has recently placed Bill Friedeman as the new chief advancement officer of the National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA).
“We are elated, after an intense nationwide search, to have Bill on board,” said Scott Kirkpatrick, chairman of the board for the museum in Jackson Hole, WY. “Bill brings with him a compelling understanding of all aspects of fundraising, an impressive Rolodex and a passion for our institution.”
Mr. Friedeman comes to the museum from Sonoma, CA, where he led an independent development consulting firm for 20 years. The firm advised non-profit charitable organizations and donors on major gifts, annual fund, strategic development planning, campaign management and board development. His experience includes working as a consultant, business principal, board member, and grant maker. He has held such roles as major gifts officer of Hanna Boy’s Center and treasurer of the Lake Forest Open Lands Association.
In his new job, Mr. Friedman will guide NMWA’s advancement strategy, manage day-to-day operations and make fundraising solicitations at a leadership level. He is expected to work closely with the museum director, advancement, marketing, program staff, museum staff and the board of directors to help build the museum’s capacity and impact. He is also charged with helping NMWA connect with donors, build a team, build organizational systems and devise strategies to support the not-for-profit’s next phase of growth.
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The National Museum of Wildlife Art serves a variety of guests, from local families to international visitors, by providing access to outstanding art, and engaging them in enlightening programming. The organization collaborates with other non-profits, employs local and visiting artists, partners with the school district and private institutions, and introduces major works of art. The museum welcomes 65,000 visitors annually, including 8,500 school children. More than 60,000 visitors attend one of the museum’s traveling exhibitions each year, and the museum has 185,000 unique visitors to its website annually.
Aspen Leadership Group, which opened for business in 2013, conducts searches for board members, presidents, executive directors, chief development and advancement officers, and development and advancement professionals. Founder Ronald Schiller has 26 years of experience in executive search, fundraising and administration of non-profit institutions.
Why Recruiters Center On Fundraising Skills
Organizations nationwide are under pressure to find leaders who can act as de facto chief fundraisers – and recruiters are in lock step to find talent to satisfy the demand. These leaders need to be strategic thinkers who can motivate the stakeholders whose philanthropy pulls everything together.
Advancement and Fundraising
The field of advancement is an extension of development/fundraising. Over the past two decades, educational institutions and charitable groups 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.
Advancement talent is being groomed all around the field and within organizations that understand the direct connectivity between messaging and contributed revenue, say recruiters. The function is only relevant to the non-profit and education sectors. In corporate setting, such executives are commonly referred to as chief development officers or a chief business development officer.
In general, the best training for such roles is experience. Industry conferences and summits can also help one learn benchmarking and best practices. And while the best fit for these roles ultimately depends on the culture of the organization, recruiters say that “tenacity and drive” are two traits always necessary for successful advancement and development officers.
Museums Looking for New Leaders
Museums are increasingly turning to specialist recruiters to help fill critical, senior level leadership roles. Here’s a look at a few from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is seeking a new director to replace Thomas P. Campbell, who stepped down in February. The oldest and possibly most prestigious museum in the U.S. has turned to boutique executive search firm Phillips Oppenheim to fill the position.
Opportunity Resources placed Della Watkins as the new executive director of the Columbia Museum of Art (CMA). Opportunity Resources is a national boutique search and management consulting firm focused on finding leadership for not-for-profit cultural institutions.
Noetic Search recruited Crystal Bowyer as the president and CEO of The National Children’s Museum. Rhyan Zweifler, president of the Chicago recruitment firm, led the assignment. Founded as the Capital Children’s Museum in 1974, the museum served children and families for thirty years in Northeast Washington, D.C.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media