Particular skill-sets characterize successful major-gifts officers

September 24, 2014

Major gifts are becoming an increasingly critical fundraising activity for US PSE institutions, but some colleges and universities are having trouble attracting and retaining talent in that field. The average tenure of a major-gifts officer is just 18 to 24 months, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. As a result, many colleges are working on identifying the qualities that mark the best candidates for the role. Among major-gifts officers at US colleges, most can be classified into 5 types: “Cultivator,” “Fixer,” “Adapter,” “Academic,” and “Lone Ranger.” However, research indicates that the most successful combine traits from each of these types, including behavioural and linguistic flexibility, intellectual curiosity, information synthesis skills, and assertiveness. Such persons are adept at "code switching" when pitching to donors of widely different backgrounds and interests, and are also able to successfully unpack and interpret data produced by various institutional offices. The Chronicle of Higher Education