How FamilyAid Boston formalized their philanthropic program and recruited talented fundraisers to see a significant increase in their annual giving 

FamilyAid Boston is the leading provider of solutions to family homelessness in Greater Boston. Its mission is to empower parents and caregivers facing homelessness to secure and sustain housing and build strong foundations for their children’s futures.

In recent years, FamilyAid has elevated philanthropy as a critical and integral facet of their future operations and success. We began our partnership with FamilyAid in 2019 by conducting a full assessment of their current fundraising program to identify the significant opportunities that already existed – and outline recommendations for how to prioritize them. This in-depth assessment allowed us to move seamlessly into an implementation phase. We joined FamilyAid leadership and their new Director of Development in developing an initial prospect model for a major gift program, formalizing their annual fund program, outlining cultivation and stewardship strategies, and exploring how increased, segmented communications would impact their appeals’ performances.

As FamilyAid’s fundraising program grew, we expanded our partnership to conduct an executive search for an experienced fundraising professional. FamilyAid planned to hire a Chief Development Officer and a Major Gifts Officer in the coming years. While they initially decided to recruit for the Chief Development Officer first, they remained flexible and open to the opportunity of hiring the Major Gifts Officer first if the ideal candidate presented themself. FamilyAid’s flexibility allowed us to pursue a greater pool of candidates and assess each individually and thoroughly to determine which role would be the better fit. We were also able to have candid, thoughtful conversations with candidates about how their experience, skills, and desired path aligned with the recommended role. Key, as well,  to the success of the search was a tailored process. We identified which board members should take part in the search, how they would take part, and why. While this created a somewhat involved process, it ensured there was little redundancy in candidate conversations, and it provided candidates with the opportunity to speak with many of the people they would work beside. The search concluded with the successful hiring of Eva Barnes as FamilyAid’s first Major Gifts Officer. Eva previously held senior fundraising positions at Wide Horizons for Children and Partners In Health.

To help ensure Eva’s successful onboarding, we developed an onboarding plan and outlined a workplan for her. We also completed a prospect wealth screening and updated the  prospect model, which allowed us to create a robust prospect list for Eva and FamilyAid’s President Larry Seamans. We partnered with Larry and Eva to formalize a moves management process and develop a strong outreach  strategy for select prospects; this is work we continue today.

Throughout each stage of our engagement with FamilyAid, their President, Board, and senior leadership have remained deeply invested in the growth of their fundraising program. It is paying off. In the past year alone, FamilyAid’s annual funding has increased by 75%, and they are well poised to sustain this new level of philanthropic success.

In both its executive search and fundraising counsel, Development Guild’s expertise was invaluable. While conducting our search for a Major Gift Officer, the DDI team was communicative, adaptable, and a pleasure to partner with. I valued their thorough assessment of candidates and ability to pivot as our ideal candidate profile evolved. While providing fundraising counsel, Development Guild has been very successful in working with our staff, board, and donors. Their ability to leverage and analyze data to help us identify opportunities for new levels of success has been invaluable. It has led to a 75% increase in our annual fundraising results. DDI has been an amazing partner as we grow our programs to support more families in need. 

- Larry Seamans, President

Contact us to learn more about our fundraising and executive search services.