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Posted on in Fundraising

What’s the one most powerful indicator of an agency’s ability to make lasting change in its development returns?

I have a surprising answer to that.

You’d think it was the board, or a wealthy founder, or a super-rich patron who takes the agency under his/her wing – but I don’t think those are the factors that lead to real, sustained, institutional fundraising change.

It’s the support and attention of the executive director.

Why do I say that?

Because board members are volunteers.

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Posted on in Fundraising

Someone from the media’s on the phone? The executive director, usually the public face of the organization, speaks with the reporter and shares the ensuing article with board members, supporters, and the like. End of story.

But not always.

When the issue is controversial, behind the executive director must be the board. And it’s the job of the executive director to know when to reach out to the board to think through, as a group, what the organization’s response should be.

The CEO does not stand alone.

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Posted on in Nonprofit

It’s August. Time slows down, people go out of town, and those of us left around may actually have time on our hands.

So that’s the time to think big picture, figure out what’s in the way, and develop a skeleton plan to move forward through those shoals.

In that vein, we’ve been talking about succession with a couple of groups these days – board chairs planning a year or two ahead, executive directors looking at retirement (or second careers), development directors thinking about how to leave the nest in good shape to take on the next challenge.

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Posted on in Fundraising

Oversight. Management. Hands-on but not Hands-in.

It's a tough relationship to manage, between board members and the executive director.

And the distinction – that the board oversees the executive director, but board members are not an executive director's “boss” – is a tough one.

How do you establish the trust that gives an executive director the autonomy to run a nonprofit without board member interference, yet assures the board that the executive director is managing the agency well?

And, how can you re-establish trust for a board that's micromanaging the executive director on too tight a leash? 

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Posted on in Fundraising

Nonprofits are a community’s collective response. To issues of unfairness, expressions of cultural pride, a means through which we care for one another.

They’re how we join together to right a wrong, to create a force for change that is greater than any of us can muster up individually.

Nonprofits are, in a word, leaders in their communities.

So when an earth-shattering occurrence takes place that promises to upend our future, as occurred with last week’s election, it doesn’t take long for nonprofits to move out in front, rising above daily programming to serve as a flash point for their community’s voice. 

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