If there is one concept that is always essential, it is the importance of quality leadership. There are many different expressions of leadership, all of which are necessary. Leadership of time, leadership of talent, leadership from staff as well as from volunteers. And, of course, there are leadership gifts, the foundation of a successful campaign.
Fundraising can become such a mechanical process, in which we focus on rating prospects, writing proposals and scheduling logistics. This is never truer than in the midst of a capital campaign, when the pace of activity must be very high and everyone is focused on the bottom line of the campaign’s financial goal. In these instances, we can lose sight of the fact that we are meeting with real people and challenging them to think about their charitable priorities. Often, those donors take our requests very seriously and make decisions that broaden their philanthropy and demonstrate the impact of successful fundraising.
The fundraising industry has a lot of ‘rules of thumb’ that we, as development professionals, apply to the situations we encounter. There are “the Six Steps of an Effective Solicitation,” and “the Five P’s of Leadership,” and, of course, “the Rule of Thirds.” There is probably a societal influence toward creating these rules, as we live in a ‘soundbite’ world. We like everything to fit into neat, thirty-second lessons so we can absorb a universal truth and move on.
This week, I’ll be attending Habitat for Humanity’s Habitat on the Hill event in Washington, DC. I started attending years ago, when I worked for a local affiliate in Tennessee, and it remains one of my favorite events of the year.
I work with many of non-profit organizations, and one thing I cannot help but fret is the lack of proper training and understanding in how to use computers and technology. Since so many non-profit organizations are terribly small, they usually have very tightly limited budgets.
Topics: Capital Campaigns, Communications and Networking, Fundraising Principles, General Articles, nonprofit management, nonprofit technology, organizational challenges, organizational professional development