Leadership

Fundraisers as Change Leaders

Fundraisers as Change Leaders: Preparing the Next Generation of Fundraisers

For the last several years, we’ve been talking about a culture of philanthropy and the importance of an organization having a culture of philanthropy for a development director to thrive and for a development program to take root and grow. I believe the concept of a culture of philanthropy or the lack of one is a useful idea for understanding whether or not an organization is ready to begin and sustain a development program.

However, I also believe that part of how receptive an organization is to a development program has little to do with how it feels about fundraising and more to do with how it feels about change.

An Up-Hill Battle: What to Do When You're Behind Your Goal

Recently, a friend of mine who is an Executive Director, asked me what to do. He was concerned that his organization was not going to make their fundraising goals for the year.  "What should we do?" he asked.

First things first. The year is not over yet! I was pretty upset that it's not even October and this Executive Director had already said "ain't gonna happen!" Whoa, my friend! As my mama always said:

"Can't never could!" 

You still have time to re-double your efforts. Pull your team together. This is a moment for him, as Executive Director, to demonstrate leadership. He needs a battle plan. Get all hands on deck. I mean all hands on deck: board members, staff members, volunteers. 

If you have a long way to go to goal, decide what each person can do. Give people specific assignments. Make sure that people have the tools they need to succeed also. If you want board members to send out emails, write the emails for them. Board members can edit them, but it helps them to get going to not have to start from scratch.

Here are a few strategies that have helped me be very successful in year-end giving:

My Library Card

My Library Card

We were on a staff retreat and the facilitator had asked us all to produce one thing that was on our persons or in our pocketbooks or wallets that was meaningful to us. She asked us each to share with the rest of the group what item we had chosen and why it was important to us.

Others on the staff had chosen their wedding rings, pictures of their children, lockets or charm bracelets passed down from grandmothers. I felt a little sheepish and silly, like I hadn’t really gotten the point of the exercise, when it was my time to share because I had picked…

Nonprofit Boards and the Dysfunctions of Team

Nonprofit Boards and the Dysfunctions of Team

Nonprofit Board members are unprepared to govern.  That’s the finding of the 2015 Survey on Board of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations, a study released in April jointly conducted by GuidestarBoardSource, and the Stanford Business School.

What remedies would we pursue if we were to view the breakdowns in our systems of nonprofit governance as failures of the early stages of team building rather than as the [later] results of process and outcomes failures? 

A Firestorm: Marketing v. Fundraising

A Firestorm:  Marketing v. Fundraising

This year’s Nonprofit Communications Trend Report, published annually by Kivi LeRoux Miller, highlighted the possibility of conflict within nonprofit organizations’ communications and development departments about role definitions, goals, resource allocations, strategies, tactics, and more. 

And, just to prove how prescient the report might be, nonprofit fundraising and marketing bloggers have begun to slug it out online.

I suspect where communications and development cannot agree, collaborate, and talk things through, it is often the case that, in these situations, there is no culture of philanthropy. And while Underdeveloped calls on Development Directors to work to change from within the culture of philanthropy in organizations that lack it, it’s been my experience that in those organizations where no culture of philanthropy exists, the development director often lacks the power or authority to lead such change.  By the nature of the problem, the development director is disenfranchised in these situations.