Executive Issues

Face Hard Times Without Fear
January 1, 2009

If you’ve checked your 401(k) balance lately, you might have tasted that metallic tang in the back of your mouth that signals raw, animal fear. It’s not a nice feeling. It’s a feeling that can make you want to do something wild, like grab what’s left of your money and hide it in your mattress.

Don’t. Trust me — it’s totally uncomfortable. And the Mattress Plan is going to play even worse havoc with your retirement than the economy has.

Leadership Tips
April 1, 2008

Here are some useful approaches leaders I have worked with from both the nonprofit and for-profit sector are using. You may find them inspirational. Retain important human capital. * Train and empower employees. Many employees are looking for growth and development, not just money. * Invest in young, innovative minds and allow them to be creative. Innovative thinkers are not just for the technology world. Stay fresh and relevant with young talent in order to continue making a difference. Take risks. * Explore new approaches to meet your business and customer needs. These approaches may be in human resources, fundraising or even the delivery

The Art of Collaboration
April 1, 2008

At a time when more organizations are looking to combine resources through collaborative efforts either internally or externally, an executive director I’d been working with declared, “Collaborations, partnerships, mergers or anything else my board of directors could think of will not happen.” Basing her opinion on personal experience, she simply felt that they were a waste of time that amounted to little else but endless meetings with little agreement or result. It wasn’t that she was against working with others who have a common interest — to the contrary; she recognized the potential benefits of such relationships, but had not found a

The End of Revolving-Door Leadership
January 8, 2008

Let’s say that your organization has just finished up its most successful fundraising year ever. You’ve hit on the perfect donor-relationship strategy and donors are practically beating down the doors to give. Things are looking great. So what’s there to worry about? Well, frankly, you’re a little nervous that today’s success is only as good as your current line-up of leaders. As today’s leadership team gives way to tomorrow’s, how can you make sure the momentum you’ve gained doesn’t fizzle out? The answer is to focus on developing consistently excellent leadership — not leaders, but leadership. Leaders will always come and go. That’s

Leadership Series: Is Change an Uphill Battle?
July 1, 2007

Editor’s note: This is the third in a quarterly series of stories we’re calling “The Leadership Series,” where leaders in the fundraising sector speak to big-picture issues fundraisers need to think about, over and above the day-to-day details of their jobs.

Leadership Series: Is Change an Uphill Battle?
July 1, 2007

Editor’s note: This is the third in a quarterly series of stories we’re calling “The Leadership Series,” where leaders in the fundraising sector speak to big-picture issues fundraisers need to think about, over and above the day-to-day details of their jobs.

The Care and Feeding of the Creative Mind
February 6, 2007

Breakthrough creative. Everyone wants it. Few achieve it. If you’re on the client side and want to get the most out of your creative partners, here are a few tips on how to play the muse to your creative team. 1. Provide useful background In the “olden days” before the Internet, I used to ask all new clients for annual reports, articles, press releases, direct-mail samples and other printed materials to get a feel for the mission, tone and voice of the organization. Today, much of that background information is available online. It’s generally a good thing, but only if the client Web

Stealing Savvy (Green Tights Optional)
September 1, 2006

You might not be a swashbuckling outlaw with green tights and a band of merry men, but read the book “Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes,” and you’ll feel like the lord of Loxley pilfering precious gold from Prince John and the sheriff of Nottingham.

In order to help organizational leaders who might be unfamiliar with marketing principles, author Katya Andresen, vice president of marketing at charitable-giving site Network for Good, shares her own successes with stealing corporate know-how and applying it to good causes in the nonprofit world.

Calling All Agents of Change
August 1, 2006

A few months ago in Tucson, Ariz., I got a shot of reality — and humility, I should add — as I listened to a group of colleagues discuss emerging challenges in nonprofit fundraising. There were several “a-ha” moments.

The DMA Nonprofit Federation brought together about 100 direct-response fundraising leaders and commercial partners to dialog about our industry at its Leadership Summit in early June. We heard keynote speakers from our country and the United Kingdom, and then reacted and brainstormed in small groups.

Building Your Dream Team
November 1, 2005

Do you yearn to work in a development office where professional staff members are considered among the best in their field; where the entire staff works as a team to exceed program goals year after year; where no silos exist and everyone gets along famously; and where it’s rewarding and fun to go to work every day?

Of course you do. Who doesn’t? To make this ideal scenario a reality, you have to start with the team you already have in place.