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Posted on in Fundraising

My board leans on me for everything” – an oft-heard lament from executive directors.

It’s logical. Board members, knowing the competence of the executive director, simply assume that dynamic leader will let them know when they’re needed. It’s easier to follow their lead.

But executive directors, juggling a million balls in the air, resent that they’re expected to be in charge of the actions of yet another group of responsible adults.

Yet the opposite complaint is true as well: Beware the runaway decisions made by a board acting on its own without any staff members in the room…

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Posted on in Fundraising

A camel is a horse designed by a committee. Heard that one before?

Heeding that adage to the extreme leads, in fundraising, to letters drafted and polished by staff alone – indeed, entire campaigns planned and executed by the development department, with its superior fundraising expertise.

Board members’ jobs, in this model, are to send the darned thing out – not to critique its components. Easier for everyone concerned, yes?

But so much less effective, for many reasons.

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Posted on in Fundraising

Board meeting scenario: List of known donors to other groups in the field is passed around.

Board Member A says, “Hey, I know Janet Big Giver.”

Development Director, eyes lighting up, asks: “Can you introduce us?

Board member A’s response? “Send them the newsletter. It can’t hurt!

But does an unsolicited newsletter really help? 

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