Lead for Success
The nonprofit CEO called me and asked to meet. With great excitement he shared an increased vision for his organization — one that would impact so many more lives. It had me excited.
We met a few more times, and he shared his passion for taking a big step. A month later, I sat in on a board meeting in which the project was discussed. Where was the leader I had met, I asked myself? Where was his passion? Why did he not share this before the board meeting through individual visits with the board members?
He very passively shared the ideas — that he had cast as an exciting big vision with me — and then just let the discussion ramble. The bottom line: The board wasn't interested in being challenged or in stepping up. It had a very comfortable situation right now, thank you. He had clear paths around these obstacles; we had even discussed them. But he was silent.
I'd seen it before a few years earlier. A CEO delegated and then left a potential major new initiative to his chief development officer, who bungled the process. When this new initiative was finally presented to the board with little preparation or strategy, the CEO abdicated leadership. He didn't share his analysis, perspective or hoped-for outcomes.
As a nonprofit leader, volunteers and especially board members need to be looking to you as the expert, as the leader. If you need additional expertise for various reasons, bring in consultants, advisors, board members and staff.
You build a strong relationship with your board through an investment of time — ongoing dialogue, relationship-building and educating board members about your organization and its mission, and their roles as board members — and coaching them to success.
For nonprofit success — and fundraising success specifically — be strategic and lead!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.