The recruitment and retention challenge

The IDPE Benchmarking Report states that fundraising requires focussed attention and dedicated staff.

No one will argue with that sentiment: successful fundraising outcomes can certainly be linked back to focussed and dedicated time from skilled staff. Successful fundraising is built on developing long-lasting, trusting relationships with your donor community.

Therefore, you want – and the world needs – highly skilled, invested, and professional development staff who can focus their time effectively and are inspired to make a real impact.

Recruitment in the development sector is a tough gig. Hordes of people do not enter the fundraising profession (the reasons why are another blog topic altogether!) and it feels like the pool of successful, ambitious, and experienced fundraisers out there is quite limited. Recruitment can also be expensive, time-consuming, and – at worst – doesn’t always provide the perfect candidate early on.

But one of Graham-Pelton’s core values is optimism. So let’s be optimistic and say you land that dream applicant. Your new colleague is experienced, passionate, ambitious, and fits the school culture. Guess what? Chances are others will want them! Your job isn’t finished when you’re finished recruiting. You need to work to retain your great fundraisers too.

No matter whether you’re focussed on recruitment or retention, personality profiling is an investment that pays dividends in saved time, labour, and cost. For both new candidates and within established teams, mentoring and coaching support for new and experienced fundraisers alike can create an enriching working environment for staff.

At Graham-Pelton, we believe that there is a set of key personality traits that successful fundraisers should have. We also believe that limited sector experience can be overcome with the right approach and attitude. Organisations must not overlook candidates who showcase excellent skill because they are newer to the sector. Including personality profiling in your recruitment process arms you with a wealth of knowledge, determining how candidates with any level of experience can cope under pressure, have the right approach, and rise to the challenge.

An accurate measure of people’s personalities means better decisions throughout the talent lifecycle – from recruitment to team building, coaching to succession planning.

Graham-Pelton is a qualified administrator of Talent Q, as authorized by Korn Ferry Hay Group. It’s our firm’s preferred psychometric assessment focussed on workplace behavior, helping to identify innate strengths and understand how people operate – individually and within a team. Feel free to reach out to learn more about why we prefer the program, and what it could do for your recruitment, retention, and coaching strategies, and to make the most of your team’s skills.

Above all, remember that high-performing teams aren’t created by chance. Personality profiling can give you a strong start.

Rachael Magee is Consultant at Graham-Pelton. Click here for more insights about the IDPE and Graham-Pelton Benchmarking Survey results, and the way your organisation may benefit from our findings.

All Services

Fundraising Strategy

  • Annual giving
  • Planned giving
  • Principal and major gifts
  • Risk assessment


  • Planning studies
  • Campaign strategy and counsel
  • Campaign assessments and audits
  • Communications
  • Coaching

Attraction and Retention

  • Donor relations
  • Alumni relations
  • Grateful patient programs
  • International scoping
  • Member relations

Organizational Effectiveness

  • Operational assessments
  • Talent assessments and development
  • Training and engagement
  • Interim staffing

Business Intelligence

  • Prospect profiling
  • Database optimization
  • Wealth screening and analysis
  • Fundraising metrics


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