A Nudge, A Pat, With Love

on in Fundraising

It’s a partnership, sure, we’ve said that over and over again.

The relationship of the Board and the Executive Director.

But sometimes we get so serious we forget that partnerships involve not only thinking deep thoughts together, but also nurturing each other.

We try so hard, respect each other so much that we’re afraid to disappoint.

Yet in so doing, we forget about a cardinal imperative of working as a team –

Feeding each other, both body and soul.

I was reminded of this when a video called “How To Help Your Executive Director Thrive” crossed my email stream.

Now there’s a title to catch the eye!

Balancing feather and rockPart of Christopher Davenport’s Movie Mondays series, the 10-minute video shows two fundraising professionals talking about how they themselves, as board members, try to nourish their executive directors by helping them ask questions like: “Am I doing the work I love?” and “Am I effective at the work I do?

What a novel idea – time to stop and think. In a space that asks you to concentrate on what you need.

As a consultant, my mind immediately flew to the many board-executive director teams we work with, earnestly trying to keep each other wrestling with the big strategic questions instead of focusing on the daily details.

As a board member, I thought about the dynamic that happens when the board and the ED are trying to move the mountain – what’s needed to get the organization to a new place, with all the stress that infers.

And as an executive director, I thought about that same challenge, too.

In each circumstance I saw, with a blinding light, how our struggles and frustration were keeping us from creating a place that could help each other do our creative, joyful best.

My resolution, after watching this video? To listen a little more carefully, a little less defensively. To ask, a little more proactively. And to act, with humility and firmness, to set a place on the same side of the table.

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