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Staff Transitions – Onboarding and Offboarding Best Practices

20 Feb 2019 3:38 PM | Kim Palumbarit (Administrator)

These best practices came out of the webinar that Apra-NW hosted as part of Apra Chapters Share the Knowledge in February 2019. The webinar panel featured the following speakers:

  • Rachel Du, Prospect Management Analyst, Oregon Health & Sciences University; Apra-NW Programming Director

  • Krista Berg, Prospect Management Strategist, University of Washington; Apra-NW President

  • Kim Palumbarit, Prospect Development Analyst, Seattle University; Apra-NW Webmaster

  • Kim Ositis, Development Database and Research Analyst, Seattle Opera; Apra-NW Secretary

It was moderated by Alexa Makhani, Prospect Research Analyst, Washington State University and Apra-NW Communications Director.

Development Officer Onboarding

General Training:

  • Have a checklist or guide for the onboarding process that you can work through so that you can make sure you are not missing steps (access to the database, contact reports, etc.). This creates a smoother onboarding experience for your new fundraiser

  • Train one-on-one so that fundraiser can ask you questions and gets to know you

  • Schedule a follow-up training 1 month to 6 weeks after the DO starts. This allows them time to get started and learn the basics, giving them time to figure out what questions and guidance they need from Prospect Development

  • Consider weekly check-ins until the fundraiser is fully trained

  • Partner fundraiser with a more junior MGO

  • Teach new fundraisers to be thinking about the person after them – will this contact report or strategy be useful if I leave? This helps with the offboarding process, as well as onboarding the next fundraiser

Preparing a portfolio:

  • Portfolios should be shaped by the role the fundraiser is entering. Junior MGO’s will often have a portfolio more heavily focused on disqualification, a more senior MGO will have higher rated prospects

  • Work with managers to determine the best prospects for a portfolio – should they be above a certain capacity, in a certain geographic region, etc.


  • Consider when in the fiscal year a fundraiser is starting – if they are starting mid-fiscal year, reduce the metrics by 50%

  • Track everything a new fundraiser does, but don’t report against their metrics in the first year – this will help them understand how metrics work without feeling the pressure of having to perform against them

  • Create 30/60/90 day goals – these can be a mix of donor focused (a certain number of visits or phone calls) and new job logistics (set up retirement fund, learn how to navigate the building)

  • Create calendar of metrics system for the fiscal year – include review periods, data deadlines for reporting, etc.

Development Officer Offboarding

  • Reach out to fundraiser for exit portfolio review as soon as you hear they are leaving

  • At exit portfolio review, discuss:

    • Proposals so that need closing or updating

    • Contact reports that still need to be filed

    • Recommendations for who to move prospects to

    • Prospects that can be disqualified or moved back into the pool

  • Most important question for exiting fundraiser: can this wait for the next fundraiser assigned to this prospect or does it need immediate attention?

Prospect Development Staff


  • Create one central place for storing all policies and processes

    • One Note

    • Confluence

    • Shared folders

  • Any time you have documentation or an email explaining a process or policy, add it to the shared folder

  • Building out documentation helps you review your entire onboarding process and make sure it’s logical and clear


  • Often very similar to training DOs – a good starting place for training new Prospect Development staff

  • Start with basic projects such as reviewing contact reports or doing simple ratings to help them learn processes and policies


Call for Blog Submissions

If you, or someone on your team, has content you would like to submit to this Apra-NW blog on prospect management, research, or any related subject, please send it to our Communications Director, Alexa Makhani

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