Strong, Positive Leadership Inspires Gifts
What happens before a campaign formally begins determines its success. Before embarking on a major campaign, you need strong leadership from staff and volunteers that inspires others.
Your CEO and senior staff must have a clear vision, and the ability to articulate and execute it. Donors need to feel comfortable that their gifts will be used in an appropriate manner. This feeling of confidence comes from knowing that your staff is successful at developing and implementing strategy.
It is important that the CEO has the relationships where she or he can sit down with a donor and make a major ask. This means that, in most cases, the CEO has some tenure. During that time, he or she has developed deep relationships and connectivity among your best prospective major donors and isn't afraid to test ideas, get feedback, listen, adapt and improve the organization. A successful CEO understands this feedback may mean a different goal or a different path to a goal.
An effective board understands its roles — developing strategy, oversight and fundraising. Donors have confidence in organizations that are governed by boards that are known to be effective in these areas. Board members who try to overstep their authority in the day-to-day running of an organization can sabotage a chance at a successful campaign.
The caliber of your board needs to be evaluated before beginning a campaign, and sometimes changes need to be made. The board's connection to key leaders in your constituencies improve the campaign's success. For campaign leaders and other major donors to step up, they have to have confidence in the board's governance and leadership. And this means they have to have experiences with them to make this judgment.
Strong leadership is necessary to be prepared for a successful major campaign. When the senior staff and board fulfill their roles and demonstrate that they are strong leaders, a culture is created where philanthropy is a priority and is celebrated. Strong, positive leadership positions your organization as a place where donors can join in and make a difference.
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.