Leadership is more than finding the money

Following the money is hardly an unfamiliar concept, but leading the way to the money is often and overlooked endeavor in the nonprofit sector.

In his book “The Nonprofit Fundraising Solution,” Laurence A. Pagnoni argues that in addition to bringing in the money fundraising leaders must show others the way. Even if others demand immediate results, you must show that the process takes time. Pagnoni recommends the following lessons of fundraising leadership:

  • Recognize the value of good scheduling and time management. Routine administrative matters are an enormous burden, but the CEO without time to fundraise is a CEO who relegates the organization’s hopes of raising revenue to the dustbin.
  • Teach everyone to connect the dots between fundraising and performance.  Fundraising leaders must know themselves how the money works (many don’t) and must convey that knowledge to donors, staff, anyone who will listen.
  • Craft and tailor the development plan and committee. The development plan is written around the product the fundraiser is selling to donors. Development committees have to be action oriented.
  • Calculate the return on investment (ROI). Create a method of calculating ROI of each aspect of the fundraising program. This requires an analysis of the time and resources consumed by fundraising, to see how well efforts are paying off.