Bernard Ross

Bernard Ross
(Team) Building Blocks

Whether you’re new to a development leadership role or a seasoned executive, you must consider personnel issues. Much like a football coach who takes over a team, think about each part of the organization and how the pieces fit together. A fundraising coach knows that success depends on a total team concept. Each fundraising organization has elements of governance through its board of directors and administration with executive leadership and staff. These various individuals must execute strategic and operational plans for success to occur.

You Might Be Good, but Are You Great?

Below I outline how you can make Jim Collins' "conscious choices" through three practical stages — disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action — to go from a good organization to a great organization.

Roll the Stone
 (of Mediocrity) Away

Some organizations seem trapped in a sisyphean cycle of not just making mistakes but repeating the same mistakes again and again. So how do you work at becoming a learning organization? Here's my checklist of five characteristics drawing on Senge's work and my own thinking and experience.

The Learning Leader: What Do You Do in a Crisis?

Challenging times — especially crises — are a great acid test for "learning leadership" — to see if you model an adaptive and flexible approach under pressure. When things go wrong and are at least partly out of their control, great leaders can show how quickly they learn and help their organizations do so ... or not.

Can You Smell the Change?

Many charities, sadly, seem to have a slow and reactive culture very similar to the slow-moving corporate one. Take the Organizational Olfactory Approach to fundraising.

What If …

Using scenario planning often seems to involve a lot of effort for which the payoff is inaccurate predictions or, worse still, indulgent fantasies. But even when your predictions don't materialize, they can help improve your organization's 
strategic intelligence.

How Does Your (Fundraising) Garden Grow?

You’ve almost certainly had the meeting. You know, the one about how to survive the crunch, the crisis, the catastrophe — or whatever you want to call it. The meeting where you probably were uncertain about what to do and even about what the impact might be on your organization. Maybe the only thing everyone agreed on was that it’s a difficult situation in fundraising at the moment with few clear answers on how to survive.

Knock Their Socks Off

As a fundraiser, you often have to try and influence people: when you’re asking a major donor to help your cause; when you’re trying to get your colleagues to back your plan; when you need to persuade the board to adopt a strategic approach.

In each case, there are times when the influence message seems to arrive easily and times when “they” just don’t seem to understand. In “The Magic of Influence,” to be published by Wiley later this year, we explore how a range of psychological techniques can help fundraisers trying to win over others. This article explores one of these techniques — perceptual positions.