I try to read at least 3 blog posts each day and often choose which ones to read based on an interesting title or picture. Today I clicked on a post by Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group titled “Don’t Be Afraid to Lead“.
That short, but very straightforward title caught my attention right away. But, it was the caption under the picture that really piqued my interest.
The caption read “Just tell me what you’d like me to do, and I’ll do it.” – said the CEO, Board member or volunteer when asked to help in fundraising. WOW! That’s exactly the conversation I’ve had with several of our board members recently. And has been the subject of several conversations with the leadership of our organization.
One thing I like to ask our board members when I’m meeting with them is “what’s your impression of our board meetings?” “Are the meetings serving the purpose for which you signed up and how can they be improved?” Many of our board members also serve on other boards, or have in the past. As such, they are the perfect people to give feedback and advice.
The board members all agree that the information presented at the meetings, including research findings, development updates, new program initiatives, and student body growth, is informative and interesting. They enjoy hearing from faculty members on their cutting edge research, or from students on their accomplishments and goal achievements.
But, one of the most telling answers I get when I ask “what could we do better?” is that they want to do more than just listen – they want to help but aren’t being told what to do or how to do it.
That’s why “Don’t Be Afraid to Lead” is this week’s post that made me stop and think. It gives an unfiltered, unapologetic explanation of fundraising leadership: why it’s necessary, what needs to change, and how to do it.
What I learned from this very well-written post is that it’s the Development Director that needs to:
- Lead and not wait for offers of help.
- Come to board meetings prepared with a list of individuals, corporations and foundations that the board can help the organization connect with.
- Tell the board what they should be doing to help – because they want to help!
- Meet with the organizations leadership prepared with a list of donors to call or meet and the background information on each.
- Not be afraid to say “We need your help!” and then be very specific about what that means.
In a nutshell, our thinking needs to change. We shouldn’t be waiting for the CEO or Board members to lead the Development Director in fundraising, the Development Director should be leading them in what they can do to help.
We shouldn’t be afraid to lead! Thanks Richard and Jeff for giving permission to do just that!
Photo Credit: Leadership