The proof of a CEO search is in the post-selection “pudding”

Serving on a CEO/presidential search committee is a weighty assignment. Constituent hopes are high. Inquiring minds want to know.  And employees wait impatiently for a messiah, or at the least, a Moses. So much rests on the shoulders of a few. If ever there was a reason to pray, this is it. And all the […]

Get more done by doing less

Here’s a message to fundraisers who qualify as control freaks, self-appointed messiahs, and/or living without margin in their work lives. Run, don’t walk to the September 13 issue of Harvard Business Review and turn to “Make Time for the Work That Matters.” This article is for you (ahem, me). Okay, so authors Julian Birkinshaw and […]

When selecting a leader, be careful for what you wish.

Leadership is on my mind a lot these days, probably because I’ve missed the submission deadline for a chapter I’ve been asked to write on the topic. (Whew, I got the confession over and done.) Then there’s my role on a presidential transition team on behalf of an organization with which I’m a board member. […]

Every fundraiser needs a John the Baptist

The doorway by which I found my way into fundraising was marked “public relations.” More years ago than I like to admit, I was the director of PR for a small, church-related college in Kansas – a role that made me part of a three-person development team. There was the director of development, the director […]

When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.

In today’s mail, I received a frantic letter from a ministry where just a year ago, the board was patting itself on the back about the organization’s strong financial position. Now I learn that a disaster is likely unless “300 people give $120 each or 500 give $72” by the end of the month. The executive […]

GenXers or Gray Hairs, which will it be?

This week’s Chronicle of Philanthropy sent fundraisers scurrying every which direction.  A front-page headline trumpeted the importance of “tomorrow’s donors.” A few pages back, readers were told “Baby Boomers Now Key Source of Charity Gifts, Study Finds.” So which is it? The younger set or the over-50 crowd? Should fundraisers, in the words of the […]

Confessing my love/hate relationship with wealth screening

After years of encouraging clients to give it a whirl, I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with wealth screening — the much-lauded tool for uncovering major gift (or any gift) prospects hiding in the organization’s mailing list. The bee’s knees of the fundraising world. The next best thing to sliced bread (or more dough). As one […]

Finding your organization’s future in its past

Clients are surprised by the advice, but before launching into a planning process I encourage telling stories about the organization’s past. Eager to grasp the future, nonprofit heads and their governance helpmates see little point in re-visiting what’s already been. In most instances, there’s not much interest in repeating the past, so why spend time […]

Announcing your new leader with fanfare

When asked to serve on the transition team for the newly selected head of a ministry organization, I said “yes,” but with more than a little fear and trembling. I worry that hovering will annoy or worse, dis-empower the appointed one. On the other hand, I’ve lived through messes caused by a too-hands-off approach by […]

Tips for turning your organization into a Millennial magnet

“Something that helps me is having the ability to do online donations. . . My mom thinks I’m crazy, but I don’t do business with people who I can’t pay online. I rarely have checks, stamps, or envelopes.” So wrote the lone 30-something member of an otherwise Boomer (and older) dominated board on which I […]