Fundraising

Posted on in Fundraising

There’s a phrase in management – the burning platform – that refers to a situation in which people are forced to act, because the alternative is worse. A crisis moment: we can’t stay where we are because the ship is burning up underneath our feet, so we have to jump (the actual impetus for the original metaphor).

The choices faced on a burning platform are powerful – an organization can’t maintain the status quo, so business as usual is not an option. What results is “immediate and radical change due to dire circumstances,” according to change management theory.

In nonprofits, this radical behavior change often includes fundraising. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

What’s the worst that could happen?

The occurrence – sudden or adding up over time – that would simply topple your agency, from which you could never recover?

And do those worries keep you up at night?

But even more importantly – are these mounting concerns shared? Or is it you alone tossing and turning in your bed, unable to completely let these burdens go?

There’s a lot of talk about risk management in the nonprofit world today. One key question is whether the boardroom is a safe place where a chief executive can admit concerns, or whether that opens them up to too much criticism.

Is the boardroom culture warts-and-all – or is it the good news hour?

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What am I going to sell?

Nonprofit staff cringe when this plaint comes from board members. “Don’t they know how inspiring our work with kids is? What a difference it makes?”

Well, no. They don’t. Or they sorta do but not well enough to explain…field the questions that they’re sure will come…have the “take-your-breath-away” stat at their fingertips…know the zingers to throw in on top of the one anecdote they’ve memorized. And what you don’t know, you can’t sell.

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Who’ll chair this year’s Annual Barbecue-A-Thon?

When board member Cynthia raises her hand, everyone is grateful, appreciative, and relieved. The matter’s settled till the next year.

NOT.

If the next time you think about fundraising volunteerism is when you need the next hand raised, you’ve lost a real opportunity to get the right person doing the best job.

Nonprofit succession is not just about executive directors, or board chairs. It’s a year-long effort to build an evolving leadership team: a diverse and complimentary lineup of responsible, effective volunteers. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

We spend our nonprofit lives providing service, meeting challenges, pushing for change…and putting out fires.

We juggle, we track, we focus.

We solve what’s in front of us and, if we’re lucky, we get to look around the corner a quarter – or a year – ahead.

But when do we, as nonprofit leaders, get to move beyond the critical-now quadrant, to the key-but-not-pressing arenas?

If not in August – when? 

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