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Fundraising woes: How do you retain candidates with multiple job offers?

By Andrew Kochman on 27 Feb 2017

You have just interviewed the perfect corporate fundraiser for your charity.  They have won impressive partnerships and are experienced in both new business and account management, and would be ideal for your business.  There is a thorough process in your recruitment strategy, but you feel confident that you have sold the work of your charity and the job, so if the applicant is offered, they will naturally accept.  Then, panic sets in, the applicant had two other interviews last week and has decided to accept another offer.  We witness this scenario far too often.  Great charities lose out on ambitious and experienced fundraisers because they do not know how to manage an applicant with multiple job offers. 


In a candidate driven market, especially one as competitive as fundraising, time is of the essence to attract and hire the perfect person to join your team and help your charity evolve.  It is imperative that you move quickly and be creative with how you attract talent.  Your fabulous fundraiser for your charity is attending several interviews and quite likely, juggling multiple offers.  If you do not act quickly, your recruitment could be extended costing your organisation valuable time and money. 


So how does a good organisation manage an applicant with multiple job offers?  How do YOU keep good talent from going elsewhere and possibly extending the recruitment process another couple of weeks?  In this candidate driven market it is imperative charities get creative. 
You must remain flexible in the recruitment process.  If you see an applicant who has a terrific supporting statement and an outstanding CV, be flexible on when you schedule interviews.  Get that applicant in as soon as possible to bear competing offers.  Sometimes it is not possible to change pre-planned interviews.  How do you still engage with applicants?  A phone call or informal coffee is a good way to keep an applicant engaged and let’s may be the difference between you being their second choice. 


Jonathan Tingle Head of Fundraising at the West London Mission, a Marylebone based homeless charity, believes that the interview is essential in showing a fundraiser how their job impacts the charities mission.  He believes in showing them the projects they would be working on and supporting, demonstrating the social impact of their role and how it would impact the organisation, and seeing the offices and possibly meeting the team.  Let them visualise coming to work every day for your charity. 


If your interview processes call for multiple rounds of interviews, being open, honest, and transparent with the applicant can make the difference between them accepting another offer or continuing with the interview process.  Emma Rowe, Head of Fundraising at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, advises letting the applicant know what you would like to see from them in the second interview, and to let them know they are the top candidate. “Don’t be afraid to let people know they are a good candidate.  Be open with them,” she says.  No matter what stage of the interview process, always give them good feedback and make them feel wanted. 
 
Finally, when you are ready to offer an applicant, move quickly.  If directly after the interview you know they are the perfect fit for you team and the charity, call them immediately. Allow them time to mull over the job offer and let them know they are wanted.  The more time you take, the more time an applicant has on their hands to explore alternative offers. 
Hiring new staff can be a stressful time for any charity.  You are hopeful you will attract the right kind of applicants, but you cannot be certain.  Having a flexible and creative recruitment strategy will ensure you do not lose out on top quality candidates.