57% of fundraising directors had no training before starting their first management job, yet they are expected to effectively manage advancement staff from day one.
This career trajectory means that managers are often overwhelmed and underprepared. Additionally, gift officers often do not receive the support they need, because professional development conversations focus on resolving current problems, not thinking strategically about future goals and opportunities.
To help managers effectively conduct career conversations, encourage them to have talent review conversations with their direct reports.
Give talent reviews, not performance evaluations
Traditional performance review conversations are held to discuss annual goals, achievements, and areas of growth. They focus on past performance and how to improve results moving forward.
Talent reviews are more nuanced—they focus on an employee’s strengths, likes, and career aspirations to create a roadmap for future career development. After the conversation, managers and direct reports can work together to create individual development plans (IDP) to put these goals on paper and define success.
Managers can later identify professional development opportunities that will help direct reports reach their goals. Frontline fundraisers can update the IDP when milestones are reached, ask for additional career conversations, and add new areas for professional growth.
Over time, talent reviews allow fundraisers to see how their professional development is supported by their current organization, which boosts staff retention and reduces the major gift officer (MGO) turnover.
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This webconference presents an analysis and key insights from the Philanthropy Leadership Council’s 2011 survey of major gift officers, focusing on recruitment and retention of these development officers.