Before Jack Welch retired, he was quoted as saying, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” The start of a New Year is the perfect opportunity for nonprofit leaders to vision cast (or recast) for their staff, volunteers, and donors. Without a vision for where you’re headed, your philanthropic goals are likely to go out the window with your New Year’s resolutions … sometime in late March. Casting vision for your nonprofit can be tricky. Your staff, board, and volunteers believe in the mission but can get burnt out from the day-to-day challenges of serving with a nonprofit. Show Gratitude The New Year is a great opportunity to remind each of your board members what you appreciate about the unique gifts they bring to the table – and not just the financial ones. Whether it’s their organizational skills, relational skills, financial prowess, or technological proficiency, each of your board members was brought on for a specific reason. The same goes for your staff and other volunteers. They are likely going above and beyond because they believe in the mission of your organization. Yet, they are probably being given very few resources to make everything happen. That can be the exhausting reality in the nonprofit world. Simple gifts, handwritten thank you notes, or a festive party they don’t have to organize or clean up after can go a long way in boosting morale, reconnecting the team, and demonstrate your gratitude. Paint a Bigger Picture People give to charities for emotional reasons, not rational ones. But even the most devoted donors can lose sight of the reasons they choose your organization over another. Be diligent in painting a vivid picture for them of their impact. For example, don’t just ask donors to sponsor [...]
In every organization, people are undoubtedly the most important resource. The energy of a happy, healthy work environment can serve as a great recruitment and retention tool, as well as improve overall productivity and creativity. Conversely, low morale can zap the energy and productivity out of a team. In the world of advancement, we often face work environments where employee morale is low for a myriad of reasons. There has been no shortage of challenging and difficult events affecting colleges and universities, for example. How about state budget cuts? How about another negative impact on our budgets and institutional relevance and viability—declining enrollments? What about administrative missteps? These scenarios can understandably create stress and uncertainty including college closures, department mergers, and personnel cuts. And those are but a few examples, which point to the many ways those of us in advancement can be dealt in the complex and challenging environment in which to do our work. In an important and timely article in CASE’s Advancement Weekly on boosting morale when times are challenging, several tips are offered to leaders working with a team or office environment experiencing low morale: be direct, rebuild trust, and inspire others. Being direct requires courage to share the bad news plainly without sugar-coating it. “At some point in human history, it was determined that the best way to deliver bad news was to either ignore it or jam it deep inside a daunting mass of big words," explains Robby Brumberg. "Don't try to bury bad news underneath mounds of meaningless buzzwords." Brumberg also recommends rebuilding trust so that your team can heal and work toward a common goal. "If your culture has been damaged, try to piece it back together. Use your communication to rebuild trust and reestablish connections," writes Brumberg. When employees trust that they [...]
In the span of just one month we have learned of two massive data security breaches at Starwood and Quora affecting 600,000,000 or more individuals – many of whom are own staff members. Are you next? Based on our visits to client sites around the country, you are probably in decent shape as long as your data is under your control. FERPA, HIPAA, PCI DSS, etc. have been around long enough that we have had the lid clamped down tightly when it comes to our own internal systems. But what happens when “your” data is no longer under your control? As more institutions evaluate SaaS and PaaS solutions for their advancement CRM and related fundraising activities, we must acknowledge that we are not always going to be in control of our precious data assets. We must rely on others to ensure our data are properly safeguarded when entrusted in their care. The good news is that every primary SaaS or PaaS product in play for our use these days are very public regarding what measures they have taken to protect data. And our own internal security experts very likely have requirements we must check on before acquiring such a solution. Stanford University, like many others, has a website devoted to this topic. But what should we look for? When it comes to SaaS we can expect reliable providers to be fully credentialed. PivotPoint Security lists the most common security accreditations. But what about working with service providers who do not store our data – but use it (wealth screening, biographical append services, employer locator vendors, etc.)? Look for similar credentials. The main wealth screening vendors have been SOC 2 compliant for a long time. The other forms of append services may not necessarily need to subscribe to as strict a protocol. On the [...]
Futures in Fundraising consists of interviews with leading and emerging fundraising, development and nonprofit professionals.
James Hackney, Senior Director of Development for Yale Divinity School, details how previously being a fundraising consultant at Alexander Haas prepared him for his current position and fundraising journey.
Charity Charge Founder and CEO, Stephen Garten joins the Futures in Fundraising podcast to share insight on the new way of giving in 2017.
Founding Partner of the Aspen Leadership Group, joins Futures in Fundraising podcast to share tips for advancing your career in development. Ron explains how the transferable skills from his background in the arts set him up for success in fundraising.