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Posted on in Fundraising

The most critical question in planning a fundraising event?

NOT – what’s the best location…who should we honor…when’s the best date…or even what’s the right format.

All questions that board members – and staff too – love to focus on when starting to think about a special event.

It’s…who will do the asking for us. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

In a well-run company, leadership development on staff is nurtured, planned, designed.

Why not on boards?

Why do we so often manage board member behavior by default, hoping we have the good fortune of “landing” the next leader through happy accident?

Just like great staff leaders are built through cross-training, shadowing, and education, great board leaders learn by watching the best and by having the chance to spread their wings, little by little, in positions of greater authority and breadth.

By planned growth, in other words. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

Working in the nonprofit sector is stressful – and even more so these days.

Providing programs is stressful – both creating and implementing the right programs, and matching the need for services to the money available to fill that need.

Managing finances is stressful – allocating funding across budget lines is never easy, and in times of scarcity it can become even more difficult.

Overseeing people is stressful – particularly when we don’t have the money to reward fine service appropriately.

Fundraising is certainly stressful – especially when the future of innovative programming rests on you.

And finally, looking ahead to maintain that strategic vision, is stressful nowadays – when the environment is throwing zingers our way at any random moment.

The counterweight?

Finding the love. 

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Posted on in Fundraising

We’ve all seen them: Meetings where board members report on what they’ve done, agree to take on tasks, offer to support one another (“I’ll help you with that Suzy”). Meetings that crackle with deliberation, discussion of tactics towards a common goal, decisions, and commitments to action.

And we’ve all seen their opposite: Meetings that get lost in a swirl of details, tangents, anecdotes, pet peeves. Where “everyone has their say” and the debate goes round and round, nothing really resolves, and everyone leaves it behind till the next meeting when the discussion gets picked up right at the beginning all over again.

What makes the difference? There are a number of factors, but the most meaningful is a strong chair. 

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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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