Your nonprofit staff members are some of the most important individuals within your organization’s community. From your development director to your major gift officer, your team will need to be built with philanthropy-oriented and hardworking people.

Finding the perfect candidate isn’t always easy, but finding the right person starts with how you craft the nonprofit role.

Luckily for you, we know a few things to help make the process smoother. Remember these four tips when creating your nonprofit’s staffing roles:

  1. Understand the nonprofit staffing role’s responsibilities.
  2. Comprehend the nonprofit staffing role’s requirements.
  3. Check out description templates for your nonprofit staffing roles.
  4. Know where to list your nonprofit staffing role posting.

If you’re ready to learn some helpful tips for crafting nonprofit staffing roles, then let’s get started.

Staffing #1

1. Understand the Nonprofit Staffing Role’s Responsibilities

Your different roles will have different responsibilities that you’ll need to clearly map out and understand before you begin interviewing prospects and even before you write the job posting. You need to know what you’re looking for in a candidate, after all!

Let’s take a look at two common examples to help spark some inspiration for the roles your organization needs filled.

Development Director

A development director is responsible for tasks related to financial status, like long-term fundraising or annual funds and donor stewardship.

Some nonprofits may look to volunteers to take on this role, while others will spread out a development director’s responsibilities onto a handful of other leaders on staff. 

Depending on your organization’s size, the scope of your fundraising efforts, and your other work, your nonprofit’s needs may require an additional member (or a whole team!) as development director. 

Your development director will be responsible for:

  • Planning fundraising efforts
  • Managing your budget and income
  • Stewarding prospective donors
  • Recruiting new staff members
  • Staying aware of the nonprofit community

Your development director should be a people-person who’s comfortable taking charge. He or she should be efficient and reliable, because on a daily basis, the incumbent will need to communicate with your donors, manage your staff, build donor relationships, and even create fundraising materials for your team.

Major Gift Officer

Your major gift officer will need to keep your major giving and other fundraising programs not only up and running, but also successful.

The size of your organization and the scope of your major giving program are both factors that will decide whether you need one major gift officer or a major gift team.

Your major gift officer will be responsible for:

  • Organizing your major giving program
  • Identifying major gift prospects
  • Building relationships with new and existing major donors
  • Creating and maintaining a donor stewardship program

Your major gift officer will be almost directly responsible for your organization’s larger monetary donations, so he or she will head the following efforts: contacting major gift donors, categorizing amounts as major gifts, crafting proposal documents, marketing your major giving program, and of course, working with your board and other staff members.

The bottom line: You’ll want to understand your needed role’s responsibilities, so your organization can know who makes a great candidate.

Staffing #2

2. Comprehend the Staffing Role’s Requirements

Naturally, not every job has the same requirements, though some requirements may be similar across your board. Depending on your organization’s goals, the requirements can vary a bit from an ideal development director or major gift officer, for example.

For any role your organization is looking to fill, you’ll first want to start out by examining the prospective member’s education.

A bachelor’s degree is common for most nonprofit board and staff members, but do keep in mind that other certifications can also be helpful to your organization’s efforts. Your candidates’ experience in the designated field is definitely one of the most important details to look for, too.

For development directors, you’ll want to look for experience within leadership and fund development for nonprofits. Keep your eye out for the following traits in candidates:

  • Fundraising software knowledge
  • Stellar written, speaking, and interpersonal skills
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Great time management
  • Flexibility
  • High level of organization
  • Customer service mentality

On the other hand, for major gift officers, you’ll be more interested in their technology skills when it comes to fundraising. Find out if they’ve:

  • Used prospect research tools
  • Are comfortable with major gift calculators
  • Have experience creating marketing materials
  • Have been exposed to donor database software solutions, and if so, which ones

You’ll have plenty of questions when it comes to selecting candidates. Make sure your job posting reflects what you’re really looking for, so your candidates’ resumes show you what you want to see.

Keep in mind, you’ll want to look for an individual who will also fit in well with your current team for a healthy workplace.

The bottom line: Knowing your role’s different requirements, inside and out, means you’ll be able to hire the best possible fit for your organization’s needs.

Staffing #3

3. Check Out Description Templates for Nonprofit Staffing Roles

Just like your responsibilities and requirements, the templates you find for each nonprofit staffing role will vary. You’ll include different perks and information, based on the different positions.

We’ve provided a general letter template to provide inspiration for your own:

City, State ZIP

Dear [Name],

You’re receiving this letter because we at [Insert nonprofit’s name here] believe in recognizing people for their nonprofit achievements  – and congratulations, we’re impressed!

The position of [insert official job title] has recently become available at our organization, and we’re looking for someone like you who can provide [a few traits you’re looking for in the next addition to your team].

This instrumental role is ideal for an outgoing individual who enjoys [list responsibilities the nonprofit staffing role includes, i.e., communicating with major donors on a regular basis].

In addition, potential candidates should meet the following criteria: [List in-depth qualifications for the position here].

A strong interest in [Insert nonprofit’s focus here] is also a plus!

If you’re interested in applying for this life-changing opportunity, please fill out the application or visit our website to complete an online application. [Insert URL to job posting.]

On behalf of our team at [Insert your nonprofit’s name], thank you for all of your hard work in the nonprofit industry. We look forward to hearing from you soon!


Signature of a leader in your nonprofit

Typed name of same nonprofit leader

Knowing how to market your open nonprofit position means knowing how to properly word it! Make sure your template is worded well to reach the right audience and draw in the right applicants.

You’ll want to make sure you’re optimizing the space on your one-page letter to portray the most important information and stress what you’re looking for in a candidate.

The bottom line: Job description templates should help you focus on what’s most important to tell your prospective employees. The clearer your copy is, the more high-quality candidates you’ll see applying!

Staffing #4

4. Know Where to List Your Nonprofit Staffing Role Posting

Now that you know what you need to include in your job posting for your nonprofit’s open position, you’ll need to know where to list it online so the right candidates can apply.

Do your search on nonprofit job boards to see which platform would be the best for your organization, in both exposure and price! You can use sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, but be aware that nonprofit job boards will bring you closer to your target audience, so they may be more worth your time.

Bonus! Check out Aly Sterling’s list of Nonprofit Job Boards to find great avenues to share your job listing on.

When you’re posting your job description, be sure to include the following information to grab applicants’ attention:

  • Job title
  • Job responsibilities and requirements
  • Your nonprofit’s name
  • Location
  • Application deadline
  • Salary
  • Requirements to apply (resume, cover letter, etc.)

If your nonprofit is more comfortable working with executive search firms rather than sharing your job posting online, check out Double the Donation’s Top Nonprofit Executive Search Firms to find the perfect firm for you.

The bottom line: Make sure you’re submitting your job posting to the right websites to reach the best potential candidates.

Now that you have our four things to remember when crafting nonprofit staffing roles, you’ll never have a vacant position for too long! Start writing your job description and get ready to weed through resumes, because you’re about to find the perfect addition to your nonprofit’s staff and board.

About the Author

Aly Sterling is an accomplished speaker, active board member, and proud leader of Aly Sterling Philanthropy, a national consulting firm based in the Midwest. Her expertise includes fundraising, strategic planning, search consultation, and board leadership development for organizations of varying sizes and capacities.