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Fundraising Fundamentals, Section 9.5


Working with Human Resources

The human resources (HR) function of your institution is an important ally as you establish a successful development team.

The role of HR often includes:

  • Coordinating (or even leading, depending on the staff position and office capacity) the staff hiring process,
  • Serving as a resource as you determine the positions for which to hire (short- and long-term), your staff budget and even specific candidate criteria,
  • Developing job descriptions,
  • Identifying internal candidates for new positions who are currently employed elsewhere in the institution,
  • Managing financial and legal paperwork for new hires,
  • Designing new staff induction and training programmes,
  • Designing staff strengthening activities and
  • Helping you learn to manage a growing number of people.

To work effectively with your HR colleagues, share your development strategy – not only for the current year, but your three- to five-year growth strategy or vision – and use their expertise to determine the best staffing structure to accomplish your goals and activities. It often helps to identify a primary point of contact in the HR office with whom you can establish a good relationship and who understands what you are trying to achieve.

The expertise of your HR colleagues could also be helpful in developing ways to recognize and reward academics and other institutional staff members (e.g., recognition in the promotions exercise or equivalent) to incentivize participation in development activities.

And, as your development activities evolve, you are likely to be fundraising for income to support new staff positions such as professorships or research posts. The HR office can help you to ‘cost’ these projects accurately and assist in the recruitment of the most appropriate people.

Action Item
  • Before you start hiring - find a point of contact in the HR department with whom you can share your strategy, get advice, determine the structure of your working relationship and establish responsibilities.

Might Also Want to Read:

Staffing and Structures (section 8)


CASE provides in-depth human resources information on areas such as recruitment and hiring, orientation, diversity, workplace culture and sample job descriptions.

Doyle talks about staffing structure.
Doyle talks about where an institution can go for recruitment assistance.