An organisation relies on many different people for successful Advancement as Advancement requires a diverse internal skills set to take the organisation forward.

From research to relationship development, Advancement is driven through different roles and responsibilities. How these are configured into portfolios or roles depends on each organisation.


For effective Advancement, there are key skills your staff should have. It is best to recruit people by knowing what skills your organisation needs to run well. When looking at this from an Advancement perspective, there are core skills any organisation should have in its people.

  1. Your leadership should be good at, and willing, to be outspoken on its organisation’s position on certain issues.
  2. Key staff must have skills in strategy and planning
  3. Employ people who have project management and implementation experience
  4. Other staff should develop a strong financial strategy and management
  5. Employ people with research skill set – able to research potential donors (prospects), the context in which the organisation exists and the issues that impact on it. It is vital to get people who can analyse: the donor world and from this, source new prospects.
  6. Key staff should be strong in donor stewardship, and able to cultivate donors, engage them and ask for donations.
  7. Key staff should be skilled in communication – internal communications, external communications, liaising with the media and developing new media outlets to deliver messages through.
  8. Other staff should be skilled in networking and able to link up key stakeholders when it’s necessary.

Your organisation’s human capacity exists to strengthen and bring to life your organisation’s Advancement operation while building key relationships with stakeholders.

Author: Alex O’Donoghue: Development Co-ordinator, Inyathelo: The South Africa Institute for Advancement