Development Guild DDI Seeking Development Officer for Farnsworth Art Museum

March 27, 2018 – For non-profit organizations, these are challenging days. Declining support from government sources, increased demand for their services and competition for donor dollars are just a few of the issues that charitable organizations must overcome to stay afloat each year. So it is that roles like the chief development officer become all the more critical.

Museums are one type of non-profit that have been increasingly turning to specialist recruiters to help fill critical, senior-level leadership roles. Recently, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine retained the services of Development Guild DDI to find its next chief development officer. Senior consultant Katharine Kaplan is leading the assignment.

The new CDO will join the museum as it prepares to launch a campaign that will fuel the museum’s future direction and strengthen its national reputation for excellence, said the search firm. The incoming leader will be charged with managing systems and structures for individual giving planning and decision making, assisting in driving an ongoing organization-wide conversation about vision, strategy, idea generation and goals for development. The CDO will also be expected to help raise funds by establishing a presence in the community while cultivating new and existing donors.

Key Characteristics

According to Development Guild, the successful candidate will be a strategic, creative team leader who is visionary about the museum’s fundraising potential and who can support the director’s concepts for philanthropy while maximizing team results. The individual is also expected to possess outstanding interpersonal competencies, the ability to effectively engage volunteer leadership, and a deep commitment to instilling best practices and a culture within the development team.


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In addition, candidates for the role should have a proven track record in building, managing and mentoring a highly effective team, as well as demonstrated success with generating significant funding from individuals, foundations and corporations, said the search firm. The individual must have a minimum of eight years of progressively responsible experience in a successful individual giving program.

The Farnsworth Art Museum celebrates Maine’s ongoing role in American art. Beyond being a nationally recognized museum and leading arts institution with over 15,000 works in its collection, Farnsworth also serves as an economic pillar of the region, with an annual economic impact of over $58 million while drawing tens of thousands of tourists to Rockland each year.

The Recruiters

Development Guild DDI, which has offices in New York and Boston, focuses on the non-profit sector. Founded in 1978, it helps align leadership around a strategic vision with its planning, executive search and fundraising services. The firm works with clients nationwide, partnering with leaders in academic medicine, higher education, arts and culture, human service and others.


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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.

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Development Guild’s clients, which number more than 500, have included: Boston Children’s Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Tufts Medical Center, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Holocaust Memorial Museum, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, Massachusetts Society for the Protection of Animals, College of the Holy Cross, Partners in Health, University of Rhode Island Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Cancer Society.

Chief Development Officers

Virtually every industry needs top-drawer chief development officers. CDOs play a key role in planning, coordinating and administering capital campaigns, corporate giving and galvanizing new donors while keeping old funders content. Implementing funding strategies that “keep the lights on,” according to recruiters specializing in the function, is job one.

Recruiters continue to report that CDOs are in high demand. Fundraising prowess and having an ability to drive growth are essential parts of the job in nearly every competitive organization today.

Recruiters generally say the best training for these positions is experience, noting that there are many industry conferences and summits that are extremely beneficial for benchmarking and sharing of best practices.

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

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