Why Charitable Organizations Often Turn to Hybrid Leaders

December 13, 2016 – According to recruiters, chief development officers are in demand as fundraising acumen and having an ability to drive growth are essential skills required to run non-profit and charitable enterprises.

When executive search firm Lochlin Partners placed Anthony Sciacca as chief development officer for Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) recently, the incoming leader was charged with designing and implementing a comprehensive fundraising strategy and development program to achieve a high level of donations and grants from corporations and foundations, as well as to increase CCUSA’s government grants.

Prior to joining Catholic Charities, Mr. Sciacca served as director of archdiocesan appeals at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He also held leadership roles during his tenure with Boys & Girls Clubs as well as the Catholic Education Foundation.

Non-Profit Background

“Most candidates typically have some form of fundraising experience in their background,” said Lochlin Partners managing partner Patrick Friel. “This experience may have been gained from serving on a non-profit board or through a volunteer channel, rather than through their previous employment.”

In leading the search for a new executive director for The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), a world leader in protecting chimpanzees and conserving the planet while advancing the vision and work of Dr. Goodall through community-based conservation, research, education and advocacy, BoardWalk Consulting targeted a proven, mission-centered leader with exemplary planning, management and fundraising experience.

“When you have an organization like the Jane Goodall Institute, where there’s a living founder in addition to all the capabilities you have to have, you’ve got to have the ability to really connect with that institutional leader,” said BoardWalk managing director Kathy Bremer, who said the search is nearing a conclusion. “One of the key success factors I look for in a very real way is the mission and values of the founder, in addition to the capabilities and characteristics of the candidate. We’re looking for that connection.” Every non-profit has different needs at different times, added Ms. Bremer. “There’s not one background that’s essential. We almost always look for hybrid backgrounds where people have done more than one kind of thing.”

Personal Connection

Currently recruiting for a senior position with the American Diabetes Association, CarterBaldwin partner Bill Peterson is seeking a personal connection among candidates to help the decision-making process. “I’m talking with candidates who have emerged that have some personal connection with diabetes and are anxious to seek a cure,” said Mr. Peterson, who co-leads the search firm’s non-profit and academic practice. “They may have a family member or be personally affected by diabetes. Talking to people impacted by the disease adds to the appeal to make contributions and contribute in a meaningful way.”

Contributed by John Harris, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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