Diversified Search Group Retained by the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism to Find Chief Philanthropy Officer

According to recruiters who specialize in the non-profit sector, fundraising talent is high in demand. Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism has been growing fast is looking for a chief philanthropy officer to help maximize contributed revenue potential. Diversified Search’s Gerard Cattie is heading this critical assignment. Let’s look at what type of leader the search firm is seeking.

February 1, 2024 – Diversified Search Group (DSG), a leading search firm backed by private equity firm ShoreView Industries, has been retained by the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS) to lead in its search for a chief philanthropy officer. The assignment is being led by Gerard F. Cattie Jr. The search firm is looking for candidates with a profound connection to their mission. FCAS seeks candidates for the CPO role who exhibit comprehensive and strategic leadership skills to guide their development program and be a central figure in ensuring the foundation’s long-term success. 

Reporting to the president and managing an evolving team that currently comprises two staff, the chief philanthropy officer provides comprehensive and strategic leadership of the development program and will be a central figure in ensuring the foundation’s long-term success. “This leader will leverage the outpouring of support for FCAS to date to maximize contributed revenue potential and drive ongoing philanthropic growth at scale while building a best-practices, major-and-principal-gifts-focused development program that sustainably meets strategic and programmatic needs for years to come,” DSG said.

The search firm notes that this is a unique opportunity for a development leader who possesses a deep background in principal and transformational giving as well as a sophisticated understanding of building sustainable, comprehensive, data-driven development programs to stand in solidarity with Jews and broadly combat hate.

While FCAS will consider a broad range of backgrounds, the ideal candidate will have a commitment to the mission and values of FCAS and a sophisticated understanding of antisemitism in its current and historical context. Ten years or more of non-profit fundraising experience in positions of increasing responsibility is required as well as a track record of creating and executing development strategies and programs, simultaneously managing an array of corresponding activities, growing the donor base, and increasing philanthropic revenue. They must have a sophisticated understanding of individual, institutional, annual, digital, and event-driven giving.

Related: 7 Key Trends Impacting Non-Profits

In addition, DSG explains that candidates must have demonstrated success in cultivating and stewarding new and existing donors and in soliciting contributions of seven to eight figures or more. They should have a track record of effective management and agility in toggling between strategy, hands-on execution, and team leadership; ability to lead and motivate staff and stakeholders at all levels.

The ideal candidate will also have the following qualifications/experience:

  • Excellent judgment that prioritizes mission above personal gain or ego; a commitment to innovation, diplomacy, inclusivity, continuous improvement, and accountability.
  • Exceptional work ethic, entrepreneurial and highly flexible leadership style, and the ability to succeed in a fast-paced, evolving environment with a high level of principal oversight.
  • Culturally competent with respect to issues such as racial, cultural, religious, sexual, and gender identity with the interpersonal skills and sensitivity to develop and sustain impactful relationships with a diversity of internal and external stakeholders.

Founded by Robert Kraft in 2019, the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism aims to inspire and mobilize all people to become upstanders against Jewish hate through powerful positive messaging and partnerships with prominent Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. FCAS launched the #StandUpToJewishHate campaign in 2023, reaching millions of people across the United States and establishing the Blue Square as a universal symbol to stand against antisemitism and all forms of hate. FCAS has secured more than $250 million in support of its mission since 2019, including more than 20,000 unsolicited gifts during a six-month period of 2023 as well as a recent, unprecedented commitment of $200M resulting from a partnership match between Robert Kraft and the Rales Foundation.

Family of Recruiting Firms

Diversified Search Group is a family of recruiting firms serving specialized sectors. The firm was founded almost five decades ago by Judith von Seldeneck for the express purpose of placing diverse candidates in client organizations. It is today the largest U.S. female-owned and founded firm in the executive recruitment industry. It is comprised of a combination of specialty practices with deep industry expertise under industry recognized brands, including Alta Associates, BioQuest, Koya Partners, Grant Cooper, and Storbeck Search.

Demand Intensifies From Non-Profits Seeking Senior Talent
Non-profit organizations in 2023 are facing inflation, declining donations, increased demand for services, workforce shortages, and more. A recent non-profit trends report by Forbes says that the changing workforce is presenting challenges for both for-profit and non-profit leaders. Being ready to consider alternative staffing options would put many of them ahead of the shifting landscape, says Forbes. Fractional staffing possibilities exist from the administrative level through the executive director level, says the report, and may be worthy of consideration for both short-term vacancies and long-term solutions. For senior-level positions, many leading non-profits are turning to executive search firms.

A search for a non-profit executive has much in common with any personnel search, and most boards have members who have hired many people in their careers. The distinctions in the hiring of an executive by a volunteer board, however, create special process issues, and a specialized search firm is best suited to address these, says a report from The Moran Company.

Mr. Cattie is managing director and practice leader, DSG fundraising and advancement, based in New York. His practice focuses on searches for senior leadership positions within prominent higher education institutions, non-profit organizations, global NGOs, foundations, associations and membership societies, healthcare providers, as well as arts and cultural entities. He serves as the leader of the firm’s development and philanthropy practice, along with the arts and culture sector of the firm’s education, nonprofit, and arts and culture practice.

Philanthropy Leaders

The field of advancement is an extension of philanthropy/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.

According to recruiters who specialize in the non-profit sector, fundraising talent is being groomed all around the field and within organizations that understand the direct connectivity between messaging and contributed revenue. The function is only relevant to the non-profit and education sectors. In a 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.

Related: Surging Non-Profit Sector Seeks Senior Leaders

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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