Top 10 Skills That The Chief Development Officer of Tomorrow Will Need

Top 10 Skills That The Chief Development Officer of Tomorrow Will Need

July 11, 2019
Sharanya Venkatesh

The nonprofit landscape is ever-changing, yes. But, with major shifts coming in the next few years, Chief Development Officers (CDOs) or nonprofit leaders need to update the ways in which they approach their role.

What are these shifts? They relate to regulation, technology, and attitudes that come with new demographics that will be part of the workforce.

First, let’s look at the major trends that will affect the nonprofit sector over the next few years.

Nonprofit Leaders

6 Trends That Affect Nonprofit Leaders

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning— Big Data was a big deal in the last technology cycle. Going forward, automation will be a major theme. Data will need to be refreshed, stored safely, and interpreted for insights. These will be enabled by AI ML.
  2. Privacy— Changing regulation across the world will make data harder to access. The public will have greater control over their own data. For this reason, organizations that rely on data will need a strategy to gain consent.
  3. Cybersecurity–  With data privacy regulation on the rise globally, Personally Identifiable Information (PII) info will need greater protection. Thus, Chief Development Officers will need to budget for higher investments in cybersecurity.
  4. Changing Demographics at the Workplace— As Millennials & Gen Z dominate the workplace, work culture will undergo a massive shift. Further, these generations care about authenticity and solving problems on a global scale. They may have a free-flowing career path, but they want to work at organizations that stand for something meaningful.
  5. Social Media— Social media is here to stay. Channels may become more niche to serve the diverse interests of its users. Social media will also have a bearing on fundraising. Nonprofit leaders may see that giving is more fragmented, but there is a higher volume of smaller donations.

    “With the click of a ‘like button’, users will be able to make microdonations, a cent or even less.” says, Felix Hartmann, CEO of FundThis 

  6. Tax Laws— Changing tax laws may reduce gift size and frequency especially among sporadic donors.  On the other hand, there will be an increase in the likelihood of Donor Advised Funds.

These trends affect the role of the Chief Development Officer in many impactful ways.  CDOs need to understand these trends so that they can get ahead of them. Thus, here are top skills that nonprofit leaders will need in each area that affects them.

Top 3 Technical Skills That CDOs of Tomorrow Will Need

1. AI-Powered Data Modeling

Understanding the importance of data is only the first step. Nonprofit leaders should familiarize themselves with AI. Artificial Intelligence in data modeling, for instance, finds patterns among donors and prospects. Using wealth data analytics powered by AI gives you the ability to know the right “ask” amount for each potential donor.

2. Refine Precision Through Machine Learning

The old way of using your network, while still useful, is actually going to slow you down. Fortunately, Machine Learning technology can speed things up. When you use analytics to generate insights regularly, machine learning can constantly improve your results.

For instance, AI allows you to find important patterns among your top donors. Machine learning can refine these over time so that you have a precise formula for finding new donors just like your best ones.

3. Evolve from CRM to CDP

CRM is yesterday’s news, CDP is going to be the next big thing. CDP or a Customer Data Platform gives CDOs the ability to unify paid and owned data, according to McKinsey.

Thus, nonprofit leaders need to empower their team by integrating wealth, demographic, lifestyle, and affinities within a centralized CDP. This way, your team spends more time talking to the right people than spending time on administrative tasks.

Top 3 Skills Needed to Stay Ahead of Regulatory Changes

1. Keep Up with Privacy Laws

The implementation of GDPR was a game-changer in Europe. This is a sign of things to come. Chief Development Officers need to keep up with changing privacy laws. When user consent becomes necessary for data, you will need a strategy to ensure that your donors remain connected to your organization.

2. Speak the Language of Cybersecurity

With PII data requiring more security, it is increasingly important to understand data collection, storage, and sharing. CDOs will need to hire an in-house data security expert or work with qualified consultants. Further, you will need to be equipped to speak their language. This will help you ensure that your infrastructure meets industry requirements.

3. Build Relationships with Wealth Managers

With the new tax laws, donor attitudes may change over time. CDOs who move quickly to leverage wealth data analytics and technology will gain a larger share of wallet from competing causes. Similarly, building relationships with Wealth Managers can help familiarize prospects with your cause. With the support of financial service professionals, you can gain traction on Donor Advised Funds.

Top 3 Leadership Skills CDOs Need to Leverage The New Workforce

1. Embrace Diversity

Millennials in the US are the most diverse generation to date. Therefore, nonprofit leaders must understand and embrace diversity. This means that cultural sensitivity has to be built into your leadership skills. Moreover, individuals have different intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, understanding what makes each one tick will create a harmonious workplace.

2. Lead with Authenticity

Leading with authenticity and passion are big draws for teams consisting of younger generations. For instance, motivating younger employees to give their all to your cause will be easier when they can see how much you believe in it.

3. Be Open to Learning

When it comes to the proliferation of social media and the increasing dependence on technology, a younger workforce can prove to be a great asset. As a leader, it is important that you are open to reverse mentoring from younger employees with respect to these areas.

Bonus Communication Skill to Ensure Donor Engagement

The benefit of fragmented donations over social media is the volume of donations. As a Chief Development Officer, you need to look beyond your core donor on social media. Further, activating potential donors online helps you create awareness that leads up to an actual conversation.

Using engagement metrics, you can understand how often to connect with members of your community. For example, some people don’t mind regular communications and outreach efforts. Others may be happy to donate but prefer infrequent contact.

How We Can Help

WealthEngine9 or WE9 is built to prepare you and your organization for the future. We leverage AI/ML to deliver automation. This means that your team can be enriched with insights on your donor base that go beyond wealth. In fact, WE Screen enables you to add 50+ data points on each donor- data on wealth, lifestyle, demographics, interests, and affinities. These can be added to your database at the click of a button.

What’s more? With WE9, our industry-specific CDP will enable you to unify your data and make operation seamless for your team. When younger employees come in with convoluted career paths, you can rest easy that the learning curve on the platform is negligible.

Our modeling solutions help you answer specific fundraising questions. For example, you can evaluate your donor base to find the prospects who are best suited for major gifts.

With our holistic and seamless solutions, your team can spend more time gaining deeper insights into your donors and building long-term relationships. As a result, they will not need to spend their hours on administrative tasks or learning how to use several different platforms to gain insights.

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