Where does fundraising rank as a priority when searching for new leadership? It happens all the time. “I quit!” or “You’re fired!” are the extremes that can mark the beginning of a crucial organizational change process. When you find yourself in the midst of a leadership transition it will be critical that your search team pays close attention to each candidate’s experience with and knowledge of fundraising. Yes, we know there is a long list of qualities and experiences that will be valuable, even critical. But you have to ask about fundraising, and you have to ask the right questions. Unless you have consistent access to funds whenever you need them, the financial health of your organization will rest on your new leader’s ability to attract and sustain funding. Here […]
Tag Archives: leadership
A special column for executive directors and college presidents “I guess I’ll have to do it myself. I can’t depend on anyone. People say they want to help, but…” If you find yourself doubting the power, ability and leverage that volunteer leaders provide we ask you to think again. Yes, it takes consistent time and energy to work with volunteer leaders. You have to keep them informed and up-to-date. Many will want to talk with you by phone. Some want to meet in person. Others will offer ideas that have already been investigated and eliminated. Some will share stories of “how things used to be,” and others may not really understand the priorities of your organization or institution. That’s all part of life and part of engaging volunteers. There is […]
Part one of a three part series Volunteers play a key role in the life of nonprofits. They serve as board members, provide services and advocacy, and they donate their professional services. In the area of fundraising, the important role of volunteers cannot be over stated. Fundraising volunteers provide leadership and strategy. They open doors that can lead to meaningful funding or resources. They give gifts of their own and they cultivate and solicit others to do the same. This is the model that is at the heart of thriving and successful nonprofits. At the same time there are many nonprofits with volunteers who don’t “step up” at the expected level. There are many reasons for this, all of which can result in less than optimal funding – and relationships […]
Leadership is more than a job. It’s an expression of your commitment to an organization, a cause, or an institution. People know when they meet you whether you are going through the motions, or living the mission and vision of the nonprofit you represent. Some leaders have charisma, that ability to engage others. They reach out and touch your heart and soul. Others are quiet with a passion that reveals itself more slowly but is equally compelling. These leaders know what they are talking about, and they know how to connect with people. They are not promoting themselves, they are promoting a vision they believe in. They are promoting a vision that is made manifest through an organization. The leader brings you in. He or she draws you into a […]
Are you brave enough to have an open and honest conversation about your organization’s fundraising? Are you willing to step out from behind your role as executive director and have an honest talk with your board chair? Are you willing to talk with him – or her – about what’s working and not working? Can you discuss those areas where your staff is performing well, and the areas where they are not? Can you do this without defensiveness or apology? More importantly, can you ask your board chair for her guidance regarding how to proceed? If you are a board chair, are you brave enough to talk with the executive director about the opportunities you see for your organization? Can you discuss your concerns about whether the organization can actually […]
We are no different from you our readers. We have been grappling with emotions, engaged in conversations, and reflecting on our role – and the role of the nonprofit sector – during these times of protest and grief. With this column we share a few of the questions on our mind. We don’t have the answers, but we know the answers lie within our hearts and minds, and within the work we engaged in over the years to help create justice and equity. As a sector we have been engaged in advocacy, research, and direct service. We have proposals for how to move forward, and are ready to partner with city, state and federal leaders to address policies and biases. At the same time, we know that all of us […]
The Fooling Yourself Theory can get in the way of successful fundraising. If last year’s fundraising strategy did not yield the required results, thinking it will work this year may be an example of the “theory” in action. If board members did not solicit those they agreed to solicit last year, you may want a different strategy – or different volunteers – this year.
Loyalty to the leader reaches its highest peak when the follower has personally grown through the mentorship of the leader. Why? Because you win people’s heart by helping them grow personally. The impact of Beverly Robertson, outgoing president of the National Civil Rights Museum.
Have you heard about Raymond Burse, the newly appointed interim-president of Kentucky State University who voluntarily reduced his salary by 25% in order to ensure that all university employees would make a minimum hourly wage of $10.25? That’s right, this HBCU president gave up a total of $90,125 so that 24 employees– some of whom were making $7.25 an hour – could receive a wage increase.
I did not ask anyone to do anything I would not do and I tried to keep the momentum going. I tried to create an environment where all my coworkers felt they had a vested interest in the success of the campaign.