Some of the work I do with nonprofit clients includes interim staffing for management level roles like a Director of Development position.  In this capacity, I work with the Executive Director and sometimes Board members to help to keep the most vital fundraising activities going while the organization searches for a full or part-time position.

To get the right new hire in place, there needs to be a clear understanding of which fundraising activities are most vital for your organization at a your stage of growth:

  • Do you need someone with major gift experience in particular?  
  • Do you need a generalist who has to cover every aspect of fundraising?
  • Do you need more of an administrator or an externally focused person to conduct in person visits with donors?  
  • Do you need someone who is really good with data and large-scale appeals or someone who has event experience?

Getting the job description right and asking the right questions in the interview process are key components to finding the right full time staff member.  

Here are 10 interview questions I recently recommended that a client consider for their upcoming interviews for a Development Director position.  

1) Why do you want to be the next Development Director for us and how does our mission resonate with you?

2) Can you tell me about how your past experience has prepared you for this role?  

3) What do you love about fundraising? What are your least favorite fundraising-related tasks?  

4) What are the kinds of work environments where you thrive?  And vice versa?  

5) What mistakes have you made in your current position and what have you learned from them?  

6) How would you engage with the various communities we serve?  

7) How do you foresee balancing the administrative demands of this job with the need to be out of the office and meeting with donors one on one?  

8) What do you think a good working relationship looks like between an Executive Director and a Development Director?    

9) Tell me about your view of the board’s role in fundraising. How would you plan to engage them?

10) Tell me about a gift you identified, cultivated, solicited, closed and stewarded.

I hope you find these questions helpful if you are considering your next development hire.  Every organization is unique and every situation is different.  I’m happy to discuss these and other questions you may have about hiring a fundraiser.  Feel free to contact me to arrange time to discuss your nonprofit’s needs around fundraising staffing and infrastructure.

Is your organization ready for a change?

Stephanie Blackburn Freeth is the creator of The Strategy Tango.


The Strategy Tango is designed to move through seven tried and true planning steps while also accommodating the unique needs of your organization in each moment.


The Strategy Tango process is built upon a foundation of collaboration, candor, and focus.

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