Fundraising with Nonprofit Leadership – Four Steps to Managing Up

13/11/2015 at 09:20 Leave a comment

Collaboration is the key here (everywhere) and a lot of organization.

I learned how to manage up, cajole, inspire, facilitate, encourage and succeed in fundraising with leadership on political campaigns. I know nonprofit leadership (CEO, COO, CFO, Program Directors etc.) are busy with anything but fundraising – compared to a political candidate – Ha!

For me the keys to success are:

  1. Excellent timing and time management
    • Leadership has very little “extra” time, which may be how they view their role in fundraising. Sometimes I have scheduled time to talk fundraising, make calls, share briefs and prepare for donor meetings. Other times it’s a walk with me chat or “elevator moment.” See #2.
  2. Being prepared and organized
    • This means anytime the leader is ready, has time or is willing – I am prepared. I know who the donors are, next steps and what I need the leader to do. I am prepared to share/ask in any scenario in #1. And the donor briefs they need to be successful are clear, short and preferably one page.
  3. Agreed expectations, roles and responsibilities
    • So I know this may be a pipe dream – but if you’re interviewing for a job – know up front where fundraising falls in priority for leadership. I will stand by #1 and #2 to get #3.
  4. Setting minimums
    • I think this is the key to managing leadership fundraising. And maybe it should be #1, but if you don’t have the first three – this doesn’t matter. I am firm believer in protecting leadership time. I want development to be seen as a well oiled machine. That means, we have decided on what the minimum gift is for a leader to cultivate, solicit or steward. And when you get to that number – the leader’s portfolio gets very focused.
    • On the donor side – this is also about access – and not every donor should have 1×1 access to a leader. The leader’s portfolio gift size depends on the organization and fundraising goals. Just let me say, a major gift officer should not think the nonprofit CEO or other leader should be closing every gift. Or just because a donor says they want to talk to the leader we say yes.

Personally, I don’t think any leader should be seeing a donor for less than high six figure gifts (really seven figures) or cultivating a donor with the capacity and interest to make that gift in the next three months. But hey, that’s just me.

This my friends is the ultimate learning from political fundraising – you pay (make an appropriate sized gift) to gain access. I know it sounds harsh – but in the short and long term – this is not only how we manage up successfully but raise more money.

Entry filed under: Fundraising, Nonprofit fundraising. Tags: , , , .

Vietnam Bracelets and Veteran’s Day 10 agreements for a happy and well-functioning team (aka, how to not suck as a coworker) by Vu Le

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Barbara’s Twitter Feed

Beyond Melbourne

Food Travel Markets Artists

Annual Fund Lab

The Annual Fund Isn't Annual At All

Gippsland Unwrapped

Zero waste, plastic free and no palm oil. My life 'unwrapped' in Gippsland.

Just another site


Leaders Not Managers

Susan Sink

life on these 80 acres

The Net Naturalist

A field guide to social media.

Good By Choice

philanthropy. kindness. insights. observations

Pretty Prints & Paper

Using the bullet journal and calligraphy to cultivate an intentional life

Passion Themed Life

multi-passionate mom learning as i go


Life with Labs in Las Vegas

No Small Change

All things pertaining to communications, from the bunch of us at Barapani

Activate Learning Solutions

Learning Solutions that Activate Performance in Your Company

Clay Myers-Bowman

Producer, Photographer & Fundraising Consultant

Startups and Burritos

Mostly about startups but sometimes about burritos too.

Nonprofit Nate

Helping people help causes.

Talisman Thinking Out Loud

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

%d bloggers like this: