5 Traits to Seek When Hiring Your Donor Database Manager

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A great database manager can be the difference between amazing data processes and analytics that make your fundraising easier, and a nightmare of bad data, inaccurate reports, and inconsistent processes. Data management is a critical component of fundraising, and often requires a very different skillset than that required in other parts of the development office.

When you are looking for someone to manage your organization’s donor data, here are five attributes you should seek. When you are hiring, it’s nice to find someone who has prior experience with your database system, but it is more important to find someone who embodies all or many of these traits. Good database managers can learn to work with just about any database system if they have the right aptitudes in place.


1)      Conscientious – Committed to accuracy and replicable processes. Knows and follows ethical and financial standards. Committed to donor stewardship and advancing the mission of your organization.

2)      Clear communicator – Able to discuss data in plain language. Able to produce data visualizations and reports that tell a story. Able to interpret and explain results of data analysis. Able to ask the right questions of colleagues to design data systems and reports that meet business needs.

3)      Logical – Able to speak the language of databases, which is invaluable in systems/code design and report design. Able to design clear processes. Able to methodically troubleshoot and solve problems as they arise.

4)      Tech-happy – Enjoys technology and has fun figuring out new applications. Eager to share knowledge with colleagues.

5)      Organized – Good at managing projects. Able to set up clear systems and create thorough and clear documentation.

When you are hiring and conducting reference checks, be sure to ask questions that reveal whether your candidate has these traits. A good database manager can be hard to find, but the search is worth it. When your donor data systems work well, every aspect of your fundraising cycle will work more smoothly: from donor identification through cultivation, solicitation and stewardship. This means happy donors, a happy development team, and more funds raised to support your organization’s fabulous mission.

Best of luck to you in filling this very important position!


If you’d like for your organization to get more awesome at managing your donor data, check out Fundraising Nerd’s Make Your Donor Data Work webinar series.

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Amanda JarmanComment