For Impact


Hire people that are passionate about the product

For Impact Ideas | | Nick Fellers

One of my daily reads is Brad Feld is an entrepreneur turned tech VC who lives in Boulder. He’s sponsored a bathroom at CU Bolder – now has his name on it. He’s also a source for great reading recommendations and the one that turned me onto the idea to run 50 marathons in 50 states (I now have five under my belt in just over one year).

On Monday Feld posted that he finds successful investments tend to be in entrepreneurs that are completely and totally obsessed with the product. Today, as I give advice for the third time this week about profiling a director of development for a younger organization I think about this idea.

You want someone that is obsessed with the cause. Who will talk to anyone and everyone about the cause. Who doesn’t see this as raising money (loathing) but telling the story over and over and over.

The other bullet points that we tend to share re: profiling the right ‘development person’….

  • Not so big on ‘nonprofit fundraising experience’. The industry standard is letters and events. You want a sales person.
  • We love people coming from the for-profit world that are aligning a change in career with purpose.
  • Ideally someone with business development experience or intangible sales / high-end sales experience.

Though it may seem vague, I would say just focus on getting someone so passionate about the cause, with the right attitude, that can write and is wicked smart (TALENT). There is a reason why Jack Welch just told GE to hire the best and brightest.