I just came across a posting for a pretty interesting job. It’s the “Regional Director of Donor Relations for the George W. Bush Presidential Library.” Wow.
There may be jobs in the fundraising field which are technically bigger in scope, say running a billion dollar campaign for the Cleveland Clinic, but I think that working to raise money for a presidential library has got to be right up there at the peak of the fundraising mountain.
So, I’m wondering: what responsibilities and qualifications are required for this lofty position that are different from what is the norm at your regular, run-of-the-mill non-profit with a budget of, say, $250,000 per year?
Let’s take this point by point.
First, what about the salary?
Despite all our nobility of heart and good intentions, we always want to know what it means to our own bottom-line, right? Well, the Bush Library job pays anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 annually. I guess that you climb higher on the pay scale depending on your success at previous jobs. That makes sense.
We down here in the trenches may not be pulling down a cool hundred G’s, but the expectations, dollar-wise, are probably higher at their level. So, I guess that’s fair. Gives us something to shoot for.
As for the specific responsibilities of the job, here is a list of that they are looking for the candidate to be able to successfully accomplish, right out of the gate (I have included my own snarky comments in parenthesis):
• Qualify, cultivate, solicit and steward regional donors and prospects. (We do that, right?! We have to find, work with, ask, and then take care of the people who donate to us or who are potential donors. We do that everyday! Next!)
• Identify strategies to increase giving from current donors and increase annual membership renewals. (No brainer! We are always thinking up new ways to squeeze our donors for another hundred bucks! Keep ‘em coming!)
• Establish working relationships with key leadership and volunteers in the George W. Bush Presidential Center national fundraising network. (Office politics? We don’t know anything about that, do we?)
• Create regional fund-raising strategies designed to acquire new donors. (Um, no-duh. Isn’t that pretty much a given when you take a job as a fundraiser?)
• Effectively communicate the mission of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and The Bush Institute to donors and prospects. (I bet the business cards that come with this job are way cool!)
• Identify new potential regional donors utilizing Foundation volunteers and prospect research tools. (Isn’t this kind of a repeat of responsibility #1? Come on, give me something hard…)
• Make recommendations to Foundation leadership and the Office of George W. Bush for regional events and activities. (Come up with really good ideas so that your boss can take credit for them! Yea!)
• Serve as primary point of contact for regional inquiries. (Keep your cell phone on at all times.)
• Serve as primary development contact for regional events and activities including Foundation leadership and/ or the President and Mrs. Bush. Generate internal documents (i.e., concept memos, briefing papers, etc.) as appropriate. (Now, this is cool! Rubbing elbows with W. himself.)
• Communicate frequently and systematically with regional leadership, donors and prospects. (Wow, is this all you got? I do this in my sleep for a mere 30 grand a year!)
• Travel to meet with donors and prospects regularly. (You mean, this isn’t a desk job? Now I gotta think about this…)
• Track all contacts with donors and prospects and related development activities in Foundation database. (Ok, now you’re just fluffing this job posting to make it look more impressive than it is…)
• Working with the Foundation Development Operations team, ensure accurate and timely acknowledgment of regional contributions and production of event follow-up letters, interest letters, and special case donor letters. (Why can’t you just say, “Don’t forget to write the thank you letters”?)
• Review, update and refresh donor/prospect portfolio as appropriate. (Um, is a portfolio just a fancy word for a “list”?)
So, how’d you do?
Ok, well, it looks like these folks are fond of using big words and long, complicated phrases to describe what the job entails. However, other than the one about possibly getting to work with George Bush himself, there isn’t anything on this list that we, as non-profit professionals aren’t already doing on a daily basis in our current jobs.
This actually makes me feel kind of good. I know that, in many ways, I am professionally right on track. Sure, working for a presidential library might be flashier than the local meals-on-wheels, but when you come right down to it, raising money for a good cause looks just about the same anywhere you go. Assuming that you’re giving it your best effort, of course.
So, if I have the ability to do this job, knowing what I know right now, the only thing keeping me from hitting the big time must be the qualifications. They must be looking for someone with six PhD’s in fundraising science, right? Well, let’s take a look:
The ideal candidate will possess:
• Bachelor’s degree (What?! No PhD required at all?)
• Minimum of 5 years of fund-raising experience in professional, non-profit environment (I think I’ve got a sandwich in the back of my top desk drawer that’s older than five years!)
• Superb communication and collaborative skills to work effectively in a dynamic organizational environment (Yeah, yeah, superb communication… I’ve heard that one before.)
• Prompt, professional interaction with high level internal and external customers (Return your calls on time and be polite.)
• Highly driven, results-oriented work ethic (Didn’t I see the term “results-oriented” on some sort of list of words that should be banished?)
• Willingness to travel (Maybe I’ll wait to apply for Barack Obama’s library, which might end up being in Hawaii)
• Computer and technology literacy is a must; experience with Raiser’s Edge, or comparable fund-raising database, is preferred. (Ok, this one might be a stretch, depending on your current non-profit’s technology budget. Some of you might still be tracking your donors on the back of a napkin. Might have to work on this one…)
• Commitment to the vision and mission of the George W. Bush Foundation (Ah! George W. Bush. Does it get any better than that? Are you sure we don’t have to actually pay them to let us work there?)
Why are you still reading this? Go, send in your application!
Wow, I’m amazed. Those qualifications aren’t too tough! I bet there are a whole bunch of you out there who could be in the running for this position by noon today.
In all seriousness, I think there’s a real lesson to be learned in studying what the top echelons of our profession are doing or looking for. And the point is, there’s not much difference from what we are doing in our local charities from what a former United States President’s fundraising team is doing. Of course, their world is a lot more glamorous, but I would argue there’s not any greater pressure to produce that what we face on a regular basis.
Well, I’m going to wrap this up now, because I’ve got me a resume to send out! Wish me luck!
Application Deadline: February 15, 2011
Category: Donor relations
Employment Level: Full-time
For additional information, please visit https://employment.georgewbushcenter.com.
Photo by: TenSafeFrogs