9 leadership traits funders want to see

August 10, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

Leadership can have an effect far beyond assembling and energizing the troops. It can also make an organization look attractive to potential donors.

In her book “Every Gift Matters,” Carrie Morgridge, vice president of the Morgridge Family Foundation, wrote that strong leadership matters when looking at organizations to support.

For Morgridge, good leaders demonstrate the following characteristics:

Leaders listen. Morgridge writes that one leader at a meeting of nonprofit leaders listened to the questions she posed and addressed every one of them.

Leaders communicate early and often. Leaders who understand their challenges, know their goals and know how to communicate them effectively are leaders worth backing.

Leaders think outside the box. The foundation once supported an organization for a food bank because the leader saw that people needing help did not live near bus routes, and he worked to address that problem.

Leaders leverage gifts. Good leaders know how to leverage a gift to make it go further.

Leaders are not quick to judge. Sometimes it’s a matter of sensitivity to individual needs.

Leaders make people feel like part of the team. Don’t wait for the annual report to tell people what the organization accomplished.

Leaders find gaps and fill them. This includes gaps in communities.

Leaders know their business from the bottom up. They know the organization and the customers.

Leaders take care of their workers. Leaders look out for the little things that make workers’ jobs easier.

Leaders speak out. Their voices can represent hundreds or even thousands.