A recent conversation with my daughter on the way to school led to a startling realization. My role as Director of Major Gifts at Franklin & Marshall College has taught me a lot about driving success, both as a professional fundraiser and as a parent. During this particular drive, my daughter peppered me with questions about what I was going to do that day. Do I like my job? Why did I have meetings and what did I talk about during them? With whom was I going to talk? Why does my team follow my directions? How do I succeed at my job? Her curiosity led me to think about how closely my career integrates with my family life and how my experiences leading a team of major gifts officers informs my parenting at home. What lessons have I learned from my life as “Mom and Major Gifts Officer” or, to coin a term, the MoMGO?
CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”
CEO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”
Framing this quote in the context of the nonprofit sector, we have observed at Fundraising Leadership that most nonprofits invest in fundraising training. Where we see the gap is investing in growing leadership capacity. As David Hutchinson, President of Cause Leadership Inc., explains the social profit sector is currently facing one of the most significant leadership transitions. And there is an urgent need to develop the next generation of leaders. [Read more…]
Sidney Mathias Baxter Coulling III, the retired S. Blount Mason Jr. Professor of English at Washington and Lee University died in February of 2016 at the age of 92. I had the distinct privilege of being taught Old English Literature and Poetry by Professor Coulling in 1981 as a freshman at W&L. It was the toughest “C” I ever earned (one of only two as an undergraduate). How I made my way into a sophomore level course (also taken by many juniors) is a testament to my naiveté–an error that only a greenhorn first-year student can make. [Read more…]
About two years ago I established a morning routine that includes 20 minutes of meditation. Although I had meditated on and off for about five years, it has now become an important and joyful part of my life.
I sense that many of you already meditate or have tried it (or thought about trying it). After all, meditation and mindfulness have been well researched and much has been reported about the benefits.
As Jon Kabat Zinn, founder of the renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, explains mindfulness is “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” [Read more…]
This past year, I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving as president for Apra, the professional association to which I belong. It was an extraordinary experience. It was also hard! It involved diplomacy, a lot of listening, understanding different perspectives, having difficult conversations, getting people to consensus and the occasional “herding of cats.”
But here’s the thing: If being president of Apra were easy, I wouldn’t have learned or grown as much as I did. Brene Brown sums it up well: “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of skills and practices that are 100 percent teachable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No. Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always.” [Read more…]
How many of you wake up to a freshly filled Inbox and a daily agenda filled with a range of difficult conversations and challenging work? Tempting to dive right in, right? But, if you’re like me, that trap can ruin a morning and, honestly, not give the work the attention and venue it deserves.
Well, my coach gave me some great advice about a year ago about a better way to start the day and it has made all the difference. But here’s the trick: it takes some serious discipline until a habit is formed. After that? It’s no more difficult than your 5 am sleepwalk to the coffee machine. [Read more…]
This week my family and I are moving. It’s a significant downsize in anticipation of my oldest daughter going off to college in a year. As a family of four, we’re transitioning from a 3BR+Den+Garage house to a 2BR+Den and no garage condo by the beach in Naples, FL. In preparation for the move, we’ve been “subtracting” a significant amount of stuff from our lives over the past few weeks–giving most of it away to Goodwill, or families whom we know can put it to good use.
Fostering a culture of accountability within your team is a key skill and it aligns perfectly with the coach-like style of leadership. We have covered the topic of accountability in past posts “Creating a Culture of Accountability” and “A is For Accountability.”
The foundation of accountability lies in asking three questions:
What will you do? When will it be completed? How will you report back?
When you create a work culture that embraces accountability you need to ensure that it is held without judgement. This creates an environment where everyone can learn from success and failure. [Read more…]
Human resource professionals and hiring managers often ask me if there are certain qualities to look for when hiring prospective new successful nonprofit leaders that are likely to make them extraordinarily successful in their leadership roles. While there are no absolutes, Janice Cunning and I identified nine essential qualities through our personal experience in the nonprofit world as well as our work training and coaching nonprofit professionals that make nonprofit executives extraordinary. We found that there are a few characteristics that if carefully screened for can yield excellent new-hire results. [Read more…]
At Fundraising Leadership we are passionate about supporting nonprofit leaders in their growth. We are equally passionate about continuing to grow ourselves. The Fundraising Leadership team came together as a result of our love of learning. David and I met during a 10-month leadership program in North Carolina. And Silvia connected with us after she completed the program in Spain. [Read more…]