Development Officer: Qualities for Success

Ricky Cheng leads a discussion on fundraising for higher education.

The position of “development officer” is relatively new in the Asian context, and institutional leaders may wonder how to evaluate candidates for this important role. Ricky Cheng, who has led the United Board’s development efforts since 2010, shares his thoughts on some of the qualities that development officers need for success.

Missiondriven: someone who is committed to the mission of the institution.

Positive thinker: a true believer in the program who expects that the donor will feel the same way.

Self-motivated: someone who finds motivation in the work itself and the impact gifts can have, rather than the glory of getting a big gift.

Good communicator: adept at storytelling, both verbally and in writing.

Active listener: willing to lend an ear to donors, who often want to share their own stories.

Detail-oriented: yet focused on the bigger mission.

Leader and team-builder: able to spearhead innovative fundraising efforts and motivate a wide range of stakeholders (alumni, colleagues, etc.)

Mr. Cheng is leading efforts to help United Board network institutions develop and strengthen their own fundraising departments. These efforts will build momentum as the United Board approaches its centennial in 2022.