Como Friends urgently needs director of individual giving to meet fundraising goals

Client need

Como Friends, a St. Paul, Minneapolis-area not-for-profit whose mission is to inspire community generosity in support of the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, experienced unexpected turnover in their Director of Individual Giving position. Because the turnover occurred just before the fourth quarter, their prime fundraising season, the vacancy needed to be filled quickly to meet the organization’s financial goals. Additionally, the organization saw an opportunity to hire a candidate with significant individual giving experience. To assess the latest fundraising techniques in the marketplace and assure proper culture fit, Como Friends established a search committee and requested to meet with at least 10 qualified and vetted candidates.

Baker Tilly Executive Search solution

After identifying and presenting 10 well-qualified candidates, our executive search consultants collaborated closely with the organization’s search committee to refine their position requirements, ultimately narrowing the candidate pool. We then conducted two-hour, one-on-one interviews with a subset of the candidates and presented finalists to Como Friends. After significant deliberation, the not-for-profit’s search committee made an offer to a well-connected candidate with 17 years of not-for-profit development experience, including capital campaign, private, corporate, and family foundation donations. To ensure a smooth transition and strong culture fit for both Como Friends and their new employee, Baker Tilly Executive Search conducted regular onboarding check-ins in the 12 months following the hiring decision.


The successful candidate made a smooth transition from her previous role and was able to bring a fresh perspective to the Director of Individual Giving position. After one year on the job, the President of Como Friends reported that the candidate is exceeding expectations and has brought a new demographic of donors to the table. Not only have year-over-year donations increased, but due to the successful candidate’s strong relationship building skills, Como Friends’ retention of major donors has increased from 70 to 92 percent.

“We engaged Baker Tilly Executive Search after unexpectedly losing our Director of Individual Giving. There was no way our management team could source the high caliber talent we needed for this critical position and simultaneously carry out the role’s ongoing responsibilities. The Baker Tilly Executive Search team built a strong rapport with our search committee and provided the professional guidance we needed from start to finish. By collaborating with Baker Tilly Executive Search, we greatly increased our access to quality candidates and were able to conduct an efficient and effective search. We are thrilled with the candidate we hired and would highly recommend Baker Tilly Executive Search to other organizations.”


– Jackie Sticha, President of Como Friends

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly Executive Search specialists can help, contact our team.