Fundraising Connection: 6 Nonprofit Leadership Learnings
Just because we are experts at fundraising doesn't mean we are great managers or leaders. Yet most of us who excel in our profession end up with management responsibilities—often with less training than we received when tackling our first direct mail appeals, websites or DRTV campaigns.
Here are six leadership lessons that I believe could help all of us to be even more successful.
Remember MBO? Management by objectives? It's a good management tool. How about MBWA? Management by walking around. Yes, it's important to interact with the folks on the front line. It's a good way to learn, teach and motivate. MBO is good. MBWA is good. But be careful of MBGI—management by good idea.
Too many otherwise strong people fall prey to MBGI. Every time an executive or board member has a new "marketing idea," people run around doing it, chasing after every new idea whether it really meets your business objectives or not.
If you have a plan, you don't have to do that. You refer to the plan. Compliment the board member or boss's brilliant idea. If it meets the objectives of the plan, execute it enthusiastically. If it doesn't, review the plan together and discuss whether or not you need to change the plan to accommodate the new idea. Nine times out of 10 the person with the big new idea sees the light and backs off in favor of you executing the well thought-through and approved plan you already have in place.
2. Hire for attitude—train for skills
Best case, of course, is to hire someone with great experience, strong skills and a positive attitude.
But if you have to choose, remember that in most cases, we can give people the experience and teach people the skills they need to succeed. But we can't change someone's attitude. And people with negative attitudes become a cancer in your organization.
Tom Harrison is the former chair of Russ Reid and Omnicom's Nonprofit Group of Agencies. He served as chair of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.