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Greater MSP, A Nonprofit, Seeks "Investor Relations" Lead

Greater MSP is seeking a new investor relations director, the type of title typically reserved for public firms, rather than nonprofits.

Greater MSP, a nonprofit economic development group, is looking to hire a new director of investor relations. The group’s current director of investor relations, Sara Perlman Barrow, is leaving the organization.

The investor relations title is usually the province of publicly traded companies that have shareholders. But the business-minded nonprofit refers to its private and public supporters as “investors.”

According to the job description: “In partnership with the CEO and executive vice president, the director of investor relations is directly responsible for the strategic planning and execution of all resource development (fundraising) needs for Greater MSP, including the stewardship of existing investors. The position is responsible for sustaining and building the organization’s revenue base, working cross-sector with our regional private, public, and institutional stakeholders.”

Mike Brown, vice president of marketing and communications for Greater MSP, said that the title is also meant to reflect the communication work with the organization’s supporters.

“It’s more than just a development position,” Brown said. “I think we hope to fill it in the next couple of months, certainly by the end of the year.”

Greater MSP, which is based in downtown St. Paul, has 20 employees and an annual budget of about $5 million. The group, which was launched in 2011, was bankrolled by an initial $15 million capital campaign, which funds Greater MSP through the end of 2014.

Brown said that Greater MSP has not started a new capital campaign to pay for future operations: “We don’t have a campaign per se,” Brown said.

Brown said that Greater MSP will unveil its long-term strategic plan at its annual meeting, slated for the Guthrie Theater at the end of October.

But how does a nonprofit measure its return on investment?

“We do have objectives that we set every year and work with our board to set those. As long as we achieve our goals, then we consider that to be successful,” Brown said.

For example, the group’s 2012 annual report shows that 4,816 new jobs were added in the 16-county metro region, in contrast to the goal of 4,000 jobs set by Greater MSP.

“We’re feeling pretty optimistic right now,” Brown said. “We do try to keep in touch with the investors. . . . So far we’ve gotten pretty good feedback from our investors that they are satisfied with what we’re doing.”

Greater MSP in 2011 launched a campaign to attract businesses to the Twin Cities. Late last year, it said it was on track to meet its goals. In January, Twin Cities Business Editor In Chief Dale Kurschner looked into Greater MSP’s origins and accomplishments, suggesting that the organization’s role in local deals has been somewhat unclear.

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