Why Invest in an Interim Development Director

You can’t cut back your fundraising efforts for too long – no matter how successful they have been – without doing some damage. I can help by putting my 35 years of fundraising management experience to work for you as an Interim Director of development. It takes months to hire a new director of development. The cost of going without fundraising leadership can far outweigh the cost of hiring a seasoned professional when you are going through a transition.  And if you are hiring a fund raising professional for the first time, an experienced interim director of development can set you up for long term success. 
Before you decide you can’t afford it …
  • Fund raising is about relationships. An interim DOD can make sure that donor relationships are maintained at all giving levels. Stewardship – keeping donors up to date on how their gifts are being used – means a great deal to your donors.  Your most important donors will notice when the information gap becomes too wide.  Remember, while you are not talking to your donors, many other worthy organizations are.
  •  Foundation, corporate, and government granting organizations have firm, non-negotiable deadlines for submissions, reports, and renewals. Missing a deadline can mean going up to a year or more without much needed support.  And while it is hard to measure, a good deal of opportunity is lost if new proposals are not continuously in the pipeline.
  •  Good fundraising is fueled by data which must be kept up to date: budgets, giving records, return on investment for fundraising activities, continuous evaluation of the effectiveness of various funding streams, tracking ongoing donor relationships, etc. And all of this data has limited usefulness without the expert interpretation that an interim director of development can provide.
  •  Even the most competent staff needs day to day supervision to coordinate their multiple areas of responsibility. An interim development director can provide ongoing support and make it easier for the staff to work effectively with the Executive Director and the Board.
  •  Appointing an in-house interim director may not be cost effective over the long run.  You may have to deal an awkward situation, including a drop in staff morale, if you hire someone from the outside. An interim director who had any expectation of getting the position – realistic or not -may decide to resign.  An objective outsider, who is not a candidate for the position would be a better choice.
  • It can take a year or more for even the most qualified new Development Director to get up to speed by gaining a thorough understanding of how the organization works and by building all the necessary internal and external relationships. The interim director of development can move into a coaching role for a time and share the insights she has gained during the transition period.
  •  The fundraising efforts of the board of directors can lose momentum without the guidance of a seasoned professional, who can gain their respect.
An opportunity

With interim DOD, you can use the transition to reassess your fundraising efforts. A lot has been written about the high turnover rate among fundraisers; research has shown that some of the major causes are unrealistic expectations and lack of support from the rest of the organization.  This is a good time to work with an objective outsider who can identify problem areas and help you make some changes before investing in a full time staff member.


Help is not far away

Because of my exceptionally wide range of experience I can effectively step into just about any situation. In addition to 35 years of experience managing fundraising departments for local and national nonprofits, I have also been a consultant, interim fund raiser, and trainer for nonprofit organizations throughout the country. As a trainer, I have been exposed to the fundraising challenges faced by hundreds of nonprofits over the course of my career. I have an M.P.A. degree from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU, which has given me a sound theoretical foundation for my work with nonprofit organizations.   If you want to know more about me and my work, visit my website www.bonnieosinski.com. Or just click on one of the post-its at the top.

Let’s talk

I can be reached by response to this email or at 212-501-0736. I look forward to hearing from you and learning more about how I can help.

Whatever your current situation, do stay in touch.



Bonnie Osinski


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