Professionals who raise funds for nonprofit organizations such as colleges and universities, civic groups, and political action organizations are known as fundraisers. They may organize donor contact information, plan campaigns, draft emails and other written materials, and organize virtual and in-person fundraising events.
Fundraising managers manage the development and implementation of financial support strategies for their organization. These strategies might include Individuals, businesses, and government agencies. You need first to establish relationships with potential donors before you can secure donations. In this context, we have listed the 25 top fundraising manager interview questions and answers so you can prepare for your interview.
1. Tell Us About Yourself
My name is Sabine, and I have worked in fundraising for large and small organizations. I also have experience managing fundraising teams, which this organization requires. Finally, I am deeply committed to assisting others and ensuring everyone has access to the required resources.
2. What Makes You A Suitable Candidate For This Role?
Since I was ten, I have done something to keep myself busy and earn money. It was obviously about spending some money. I didn’t notice that I was about to embark on a journey to discover what I enjoyed doing and where I fit in the grand scheme. I worked as a junior computer tech during my final two high school summers. It was here that I discovered my interests and what I wanted to do with my life. I attended college, studied computer science, and have worked with technology ever since. I learned a lot and gained a lot of experience, and now I can compete with others and stand out in the crowd for the above-mentioned role.
3. What Are Some Of The Most Important Skills A Fundraising Manager Should Have?
Time management, communication, and organization are three of the most important skills for a fundraising manager. These abilities enable me to communicate effectively with my team members, organize our fundraising efforts, and let me manage my time so that I can complete tasks on time. Creativity is another important skill for a fundraising manager. This ability allows me to think outside the box when developing new fundraising ideas or strategies.
4. As A Fundraising Manager, What Do You Think Is Your Management Style?
Delegating responsibility and authority is critical in my experience. A team must be able to develop and grow as individuals and as a whole without being stifled by low expectations or ego.
I believe in the importance of teamwork. Each team member must understand their role, know where they or fit in, and feel they can rely on one another. I also believe in immediate feedback. If you commit a mistake, you should be aware of it right away. Regardless of whether it is correct or incorrect, the further removed feedback is in time, the less effective it is.
5. Our Field Is Always Undergoing Changes. So, What Have You Done Regarding Personal Development, Especially When It Comes To This Role, In The Last 12 Months?
That is an excellent question. Well! I have never had an opportunity to grow in this role. Specifically, I have remained busy this year at my local food bank. Through this, I have learned a lot about community, teamwork, and taking the initiative.
I took the initiative to enroll in a summer business administration course at the local community college. Through this, I learned much about communication and teamwork and how to improve my managerial skills. Though it might not be related to this role, I believe the overall experience I gained could be a valuable asset here.
6. How Experienced Are You With Public Speaking?
I’ve always felt at ease in front of a crowd. In my previous position, I attended weekly executive council meetings to update them on our fundraising goals and new campaign plans. I also gave the opening speech and presented the donor awards at our quarterly donor events. Finally, I’ve spoken at several large campaign events, most recently at the organization’s yearly outdoor concert series, where I served as master of ceremonies and addressed crowds of several hundred people several times throughout the weekend.
7. What Motivates You As A Fundraising Manager?
My motivation comes from seeing how my work helps an organization’s mission. When I meet my fundraising goals, it is satisfying because I know the money I raise will help the organization improve our world by funding research, education, or outreach. For example, every fundraising dollar your organization raises helps people access safe drinking water worldwide. It gives me a lot of hope to know that my work has the potential to change people’s lives.
8. Can You Describe Your Greatest Success As A Fundraiser?
In my previous position, I was in charge of organizing a series of outdoor concerts to raise funds for cancer research. I began planning for nearly a year, allowing me to obtain permits to hold our shows in a busy public park, increasing potential donor traffic. I invited local musicians to perform for us and convinced several successful amateur stand-up comedians to perform sets in between musical guests. We created merchandise and served refreshments in collaboration with our corporate partners. Over three weekends, the campaign raised more than $30,000 in donations, exceeding our goal by 25%.
9. How Do You Determine The Success Of A Fundraising Campaign?
Using a fundraising metrics dashboard, I like to use several metrics to measure the success of any campaign I manage, such as conversion rate, cost per dollar raised, and average donor gift size. A successful campaign meets or exceeds its objectives, whether it is to raise $10,000 or to gain 50 new donors. While the campaign is in the planning stages, it can benefit the executive board and the fundraising team to agree on goals. Often, the fundraising team can work more effectively if everyone knows the objectives.
10. In Your Opinion, Which Qualities Make A Fundraising Manager Successful?
Because you may have to contact donors several times before they contribute to your campaign, persistence is an important characteristic of a successful fundraiser. Another important characteristic is attention to detail, which can assist a fundraiser in managing many aspects of a fundraising campaign, such as content creation, event planning, and directing volunteers. Successful fundraisers also believe in the value of their actions and can communicate that value to potential donors, whether over the phone, via email, or in person.
11. Have You Ever Worked At A Nonprofit Organization?
Even though I have never worked in the nonprofit sector before, I have volunteered at a local nursing home twice a month. I pay visits to the residents, assist them with daily tasks, read to them, and listen to their stories. It has taught me the value of connecting with others, particularly the most vulnerable members of our communities. As a result, I am determined to enter the nonprofit sector and begin a career assisting others. My decades of experience as a sales manager have undoubtedly prepared me for this position in particular.
12. Have You Ever Worked With Private Foundations?
During college, I worked for a private foundation founded by a local business leader for two years. The foundation’s mission was to invest in childhood education; my responsibility was to review award applications and select those that best reflected the foundation’s mission of improving educational resources for kindergarten through sixth-grade students. To aid in my decision-making, I researched each organization that submitted an application and followed up with their grant writers with pertinent questions. This experience provided me with a thorough understanding of how private foundations operate. As a result, I understand how to provide advice on what they are looking for in a funding application.
13. How Comfortable Are You With Public Presentations?
I remember when I started my fundraising career as a donor relations coordinator. I was shy and lacked confidence when presenting donor reports to my team. My confidence grew as I gained experience and took advantage of professional development opportunities. For the last five years, I have given several speeches at local and national fundraising conferences and frequently presented fundraising strategies to my organization’s board of directors. I am now very confident and consider myself comfortable speaking in front of audiences of any size because I share the information I understand and care about.
14. Which Issues Do You Think You Are The Most Passionate About?
I am extremely concerned about wage equality, and I was drawn to your organization because of its important work in this area. As a single mom’s child, I witnessed how difficult it was for her to make ends meet despite working in her field for decades and having a college education. As a result, I have dedicated my life to the mission of closing the gender pay gap; I am confident that my fundraising skills will assist your organization in continuing to work toward this goal.
15. What Is Your View On The Role Of Special Events In Your Fundraising Calendar?
Special events, in my opinion, are as much about marketing and networking as they are about fundraising. Every time I organize a special event, I aim to engage potential new donors and tell the story of our organization’s history, mission, and impact on the community. To help me achieve this goal, I always assist in registering guests so that I can greet familiar faces and meet new people. Throughout the event, I walked around and interacted with our supporters, making sure to thank them for their help. Following the event, I send Thank You emails to our new supporters and invite them to visit us to tour our core facilities. Special events are critical in this regard.
16. Do You Have Any Experience Developing Relationships With C-Suite Executives And Other Corporate Leaders?
My organization’s corporate relations officer manages relationships with C-suite executives and other corporate representatives. My goal is to always foster goodwill through mutually beneficial partnerships that lead to financial gifts. I research a company’s social responsibility model before inviting a leader to meet with me. It ensures that their business model is consistent with our mission and vision. Following that, I send an introductory email and a hand-signed letter outlining our organization’s work. Finally, I call the individual and invite them to our organization for a personal meeting and to make things work.
In this first meeting, I describe our programs and how they rely on in-kind, volunteer, and financial support to function. I highlight how collaborating with us can benefit their company’s public image. I follow up with the leader regularly to provide updates on relevant engagement opportunities based on our discussions of their CSR model. This strategy has resulted in hundreds of corporate partnerships that support our organization’s key programs and events.
17. Do You Have Experience In Networking With Government Officials And Others Working In The Public Sector?
I certainly do! In fact, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked for a nonprofit that provided food and temporary shelter to needy families. When we received federal funding for coronavirus relief, Governmental organizations came to us because we had the infrastructure to administer these funds through our social service programs. As the strategic partnerships manager, I acted as a liaison between the organization and the local government representatives in charge of distributing those funds to us. Because it was a detailed, complex process, I scheduled an in-person meeting so they could tour our headquarters and learn how we planned to set up new rental and utility assistance spaces. Then, collaborating with our accounting team, I created a weekly report on relief fund activities. I established a system for regularly keeping in touch with the appropriate government officials and provided them with these reports. Consequently, I broadened my professional network, and now I am extremely comfortable working with any government representative.
18. How Do You Encourage Giving In Others?
Despite having no fundraising experience, I have been a successful sales manager for the past fifteen years. During that time, I managed several teams of inside and outside sales representatives to meet quarterly and annual sales targets. Building relationships with individuals was a critical component of this process. I always told my team to build genuine relationships with potential customers. When you respect, listen to, and cater to the individual, they are more likely to purchase, and you are more likely to make a large sale. This principle, I believe, applies directly to fundraising, and I look forward to using my interpersonal skills to increase your organization’s financial resources.
19. Please Describe Your Grant-Seeking Experience.
I started my nonprofit career as an intern assisting the grant manager at a shelter for victims (of domestic violence). In that role, I researched some potential grantors whose interests were related to the mission of our organization and worked to determine giving capacity. The research I conducted helped the organization successfully acquire over a million dollars. As a result, I am well-versed in the grant cycle, from identifying appropriate grants to managing the relationship between the grantor and my organization. I believe that my in-depth understanding of the grant process, combined with my management experience, makes me uniquely suitable and qualified to succeed in this role.
20. Have You Ever Contributed To The Development Or Implementation Of A Strategic Plan?
I have been a Development Coordinator on the fundraising team for the last six years. During that time, I was an individual contributor to two strategic plans. I assisted our project manager in developing goals and tasks for increasing donor engagement over three years. To that end, I thoroughly enjoyed working through the details that led to specific steps that would assist us in meeting our objectives. Furthermore, I appreciated the opportunity to delegate tasks based on individual team members’ job descriptions and their strengths and interests. Finally, we exceeded our new donor engagement goal by 10% while increasing donor retention by a similar percentage. My exposure to and experience with strategic planning has prepared me to direct fundraising project management efforts.
21. Explain Your Team Leadership Style.
As a sales manager, I demonstrate confidence and authority through accessibility, empathy, and training. I am responsible for fully understanding each team member’s role and seeing it in the context of the larger team. This strategy guides my decision-making in all areas. I want team members to feel respected as individuals so that we can work together to achieve our goals. Every member of my current team understands that they can come to me with questions, ideas, and concerns and that they will be heard and considered as we plan sales strategies. Furthermore, I must educate myself on current sales trends and share professional development resources with the team. When team members believe I am providing them with the best resources I can as a leader, they will work as a stronger unit.
22. Do You Have Experience Managing Departmental Budgets?
I do, indeed. I used to manage the volunteer services department, and we had a small budget of $15,000 per year to help purchase supplies for volunteer events, communications, and daily activities. In my planning, I budgeted the most for special events because they attracted the most volunteer support and significantly contributed to new volunteer recruitment and current volunteer retention. We used this money to buy food, beverages, shirts, and other items to thank volunteers and encourage them to return in the future. These items, which bore our organization’s logo, also publicized our work in the community.
23. Please Mention How You Would Encourage Professional Development Among Team Members.
I always use e-learning opportunities that share new fundraising and nonprofit development trends. I research new software and weigh the cost-benefit of pursuing new technologies that would improve our fundraising efforts. I prepare a brief presentation summarizing key ideas for my coworkers and organizational leadership when I attend conferences. I also share any new contacts that are relevant to our professional network. By taking the initiative in professional development, I encourage team members to grow and support them by ensuring every resource is available. Previously, I accomplished this by scheduling monthly e-learning workshops and budgeting for team members to alternate attending annual fundraising conferences. Team members have well received this approach.
24. As A Manager, How Would You Onboard And Train New Team Members?
When we hire new team members, I ensure they have plenty of opportunities to observe team operations. I schedule times for them to shadow each team member so they can understand their work. Moreover, they can understand how this work contributes to the team’s overall success. I meet with the new employee and allow them to reflect on their shadowing experience. I also go over our strategic plan and key donor information personally. Perhaps most importantly, I want every new team member to feel comfortable approaching me with questions or concerns about standard team procedures. I am always open to new suggestions and ideas made by team members who are new to the team.
25. How Would You Describe The Relationship Between A Fundraising Manager And The Organization’s Leadership?
I believe that a fundraiser’s relationship with leadership is critical to success. A fundraising manager must communicate effectively with all levels of an organization, including senior management, to obtain buy-in from all parties involved in the fundraising process. When senior management supports my efforts, motivating staff members to contribute their best work is easier.
We, in this content, have mentioned the top 25 interview questions and answers for the fundraising manager role. You will surely find them helpful if you appear for the same role. They are all general questions. You must give a quick look before appearing at the same interview.