How Rosie’s Place, following a benchmarking study, was able to recruit a new Chief Advancement Officer at a competitive salary and improve compensation organization-wide

Located in Boston, MA, Rosie’s Place is a sanctuary for poor and homeless women, offering emergency and long-term assistance to women who have nowhere else to turn. Founded in 1974 by Kip Tiernan, Rosie’s Place welcomes each guest with respect and unconditional love, carrying forward Kip’s spirit of social justice.

Every year, Rosie’s Place meets thousands of poor and homeless women with thousands of unique needs and challenges. Leadership, staff and Board at Rosie’s Place have formed a supportive community and understand that there’s no single cause of poverty and homelessness and consequently, there’s no single cure-all. For this reason, they offer a spectrum of services to guests, including emergency services such as food, shelter, and health care; educational opportunities such as English, literacy, and computer classes and job and housing search assistance; advocacy and empowerment support in the form of legal services and public policy instruction; and ongoing outreach and stability services. With an effective constellation of programs and services, committed and collaborative leadership and staff, and a dedicated Board, Rosie’s Place is one of the most respected, well-branded organizations in Boston. 

The Opportunity

Rosie’s Place engaged us to partner on their search for a Chief Advancement Officer to lead fundraising, communications, and external relations. This person’s responsibilities would be broad in scope and include creating and overseeing the fundraising strategy, serving as the organization’s primary fundraiser, and overseeing a 16-person team.

The Results of Our Partnership

As we began to reach out to potential candidates, it became increasingly clear that Rosie’s Place would only be able to attract a fundraising leader with the proven success and management experience they needed if the organization was willing to offer a more competitive salary than originally decided upon. However, Rosie’s leadership felt it was important to see data to support this takeaway before approving an increase.

In partnership with Rosie’s, we decided to conduct a compensation benchmarking study. We developed a list of human service organizations in Development Guild’s network, who were similar to Rosie’s Place in regard to size, annual revenue, sector, and geographic scope. We reached out to each, asking if they would be willing to share information about the salary ranges, benefits packages, and any sign on or performance bonus structures for their entire C-suite teams. In turn, they would receive the final report that summarized the findings for each organization. This study led to the following successes:

  • We were able to definitively conclude that Rosie’s Place had not been offering a competitive enough salary for the Chief Advancement Officer role. Equipped with the final, metric-rich report, the CEO was able to secure approval from their Board to increase the salary significantly and introduce a sign on bonus, if needed, as well as share that performance bonuses would be introduced that year.
  • Not only did Rosie’s Place change the salary of the CAO role, the organization’s leadership also embraced the opportunity to assess and adjust the salaries and bonus structures of all senior leadership. In addition, the organization hired a compensation firm to conduct a thorough assessment of organization-wide compensation packages, which is now in progress.

Looking Forward

Rosie’s Place has welcomed a new Chief Advancement Officer to their team: Shane Dunn, former Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Brandeis International Business School. With a strong team in place, Rosie’s is well positioned to grow their philanthropic program and impact. At the same time, with a compensation assessment underway, the organization is significantly strengthening its ability to recruit and retain top-level talent.

I can’t say enough about how much I appreciated Development Guild’s partnership. I always felt like their consultants really understood and respected our culture. Throughout the search process, we had to rethink the role in numerous ways, which had organization-wide implications. Development Guild was my thought partner through every step of this, and I never felt I had to compromise my vision or hopes. We are all so excited to welcome our new Chief Advancement Officer to the team.

- Leemarie Mosca, Executive Director

Development Guild really engaged me with their outreach. I felt like they listened and heard me, and they helped me understand how this role could be right for me. Throughout the entire process, they were transparent, responsive, professional, and incredibly helpful. The prep they provided in advance of the interviews was priceless. I am thrilled to be joining Rosie’s Place as Chief Advancement Officer. Thank you, Development Guild!

- Shane Dunn, placed as Chief Advancement Officer

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