Set the Stage for Change
In the nonprofit arena, especially the fundraising profession, leaders are often called upon to be change agents.
Some of the more common issues that nonprofits face include:
- Strategic governance functioning of the board
- Needed changes in board leadership
- Following fundraising best practices
- Investing in a major-gifts-focused plan
- Following the leadership of the chief fundraising officer
- Understanding the importance of planning and feasibility studies
- Needed changes in senior staff leadership
- Donor recognition policies
- Establishing board giving criteria
- Investing in fundraising and communications functions
- Strategic planning processes, especially mission and/or vision statements
- And, unfortunately, ethical dilemmas relating to senior staff, board and even consultants
You, no doubt, can identify with many of these, and I would like to hear about some others that you face.
Know where you stand—through individual visits, emails asking for feedback and more, know where you stand and what questions and obstacles you are facing, so you can craft a strategy to move from this baseline to success.
No matter what the issue, know what you want to achieve, be sure that it is in the organization’s best interest and that you have charted the right course. Then, don’t waiver. Work to build momentum and craft a coalition to see the change take place. Leadership can be challenging, but facing critical issues as stewards of the organization's mission is exhilarating and the right thing to do.
How do you do this?
- Identify champions—board and staff leaders who understand the issue and would be willing to help advance the cause.
- Identify potential champions—staff and board leaders who can be educated and then involved.
- If possible, avoid surprises and conflict—no leader wants to be surprised, especially at a board meeting, and most of us either avoid or perform poorly in conflict.
- Let them roll off—if a board member or two are a big obstacle, it may be worthwhile to hold if their term soon expires.
- Identify potential board members who understand the issue and can be a change agent—get them in the nominating process.
- Provide ongoing development education at staff leadership and board meetings.
What strategies have you found to be effecting in implementing needed change to ensure high ethical standards, mission alignment, fundraising success and organizational effectiveness?
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.