Finance and development: No longer polar opposites

January 16, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Differing job responsibilities can sometimes make people in the same organization think and act as if they are working for competing organizations or causes.

Speaking during the National Catholic Development Conference, Keith Zekind, director of Finance of the Congregation of the Passion, Holy Cross Province, Robert Hotz, senior consultant of American City Bureau, Inc., and Leslie B. Mollsen, CEO of American City Bureau, compared the book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” to review what can happen between nonprofit finance directors (Mars) to development directors (Venus).

They said that both directors want the same results but take different roads.

For example, finance directors:

  • Like to work on their own;
  • Solve problems quickly and singlehandedly;
  • Value solutions;
  • See unsolicited advice as undermining; and,
  • Want to be recognized and appreciated.

Development directors:

  • Like to cooperate and be interactive;
  • Value process;
  • See unsolicited solutions as undermining; and,
  • Want to be recognized and appreciated.

The two also cope with stress differently. Finance directors are motivated when they feel needed, but development directors are motivated when they feel cherished.

Then tend to speak in different languages, including having different rule books, (GAAP for finance directors, the Donor Bill of Rights for development directors).

Zekind, Hotz and Mollsen suggested the following to help finance directors and development directors get along: Meet once a week in person; Have a monthly lunch (or coffee with Skype); Share professional and personal information; Share war stories: “We’re in this together;” and, Say “thank you’ to each other and those who do their ministry.