On Assignment in an Interim Development Role

By: Jackie Indek Beres, Focus Development Consultant

Published: February 14th, 2024

Being down just one member of a development team can lead to big setbacks for fundraising. Whether you have a fundraising position that needs to be filled on a temporary basis while a search is being conducted or you have a member of your team who will be out for an extended period of time, interim staffing is a way to fill a gap that ensures you don’t miss opportunities.  

How Interim Staffing Can Help Your Organization

Interim staffing provides immediate, expert-level contractors who will work to keep your most important development functions moving along on a short-term basis. You can bring in a development professional with little lead time and because contractors already have the right experience and credentials, there’s no waiting period for work to begin once an individual for placement has been identified. And the addition of an interim development specialist to your organization helps prevent burnout by taking the burden of added work off your existing staff.

How Interim Staffing Works

When the longtime development director of a mid-sized nonprofit recently resigned after almost 15 years, the executive director decided to take the opportunity to evaluate their staffing structure. However, the organization was still in need of a development professional who could manage the essential fundraising work over the next four to five months while a new staff position could be identified. 

To ensure that the organization would have solid fundraising coverage, Focus Fundraising met with members of the leadership team to learn more about their needs. Within a few days, we were providing the client with up to 10 hours per week of development support, and I was filling in as their Interim Development Specialist. 

In this role, I was responsible for working in partnership with the executive director and program staff to create grant proposals for review and submission; correspond with funders and prospective donors to arrange calls with staff or provide information as needed; provide updates to funders in conjunction with the executive director and project director(s); and participate in weekly meetings with the executive director and full staff to highlight fundraising actions to take in the short- and longer-term. 

Like all the consultants who work with Focus, I am an accomplished fundraising professional, having worked for many years with several nationally recognized foreign policy, public affairs, and health and human service organizations. I was able to lean into this experience and provide much-needed resources to the client quickly and with little training. In addition, I was able to offer advice and expertise to help improve their existing development program. I created and implemented a stewardship plan for existing funders; identified tools for upgrading their system for sharing information across the organization; and assisted with drafting and posting the job description for a new development officer.       

Benefits of Interim Staffing

These are just a few examples of the role an interim development specialist can play in your fundraising operation. Responsibilities such as grant writing and reporting, donor stewardship and cultivation, prospect research, campaign appeals, event planning, database management, and other day-to-day development need to offer your leadership, staff, and board the peace of mind of knowing that key fundraising priorities and projects are being managed efficiently. Interim staff can also provide added assistance and guidance for drafting and posting a job description as well as screening and tracking resumes and conducting introductory interviews during the transition period.

Whether you are experiencing a sudden loss of a key position or you simply need to augment your fundraising team while someone is on leave, reach out if we can help you manage gaps in staffing so you can stay focused on meeting revenue goals. 



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