Author, coach, copy-writer, nonprofit marketing consultant and political junkie, Pamela is the author of “Five Days to Foundation Grants” and the creator of Simple Development Systems, the only online coaching program created for the overwhelmed fundraiser in the one-person marketing and development shop.
Pam segued from six years working in programming and communications at a regional grantmaking foundation to the world of fundraising in 2001. In her first position as a 15-hour a week development director for an agency with a $3 million dollar budget, she increased individual giving by 25% – while reducing costs by 31% – and increased foundation funding by an astonishing 93%! She’s raised over $10 million in funding since then and has been positioning small nonprofit organizations on the path to sustainable funding ever since with her “Simple Development Systems” of donor-centric fundraising methods.
With an eclectic 20 year background in politics, sales, marketing and philanthropy, Pamela’s greatest satisfaction lies in teaching the small community-based nonprofits how to, in her words, “market like the big boys” with limited time and resources.
Seven Secrets to Great Nonprofit Leadership
1. The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. RALPH NADER
In other words, let your leaders lead.
I worked as part of a five-person development team for a large organization for twelve long months. During that time period three development directors came and went, not to mention program staff, membership staff, the CFO and more.
The problem? A CEO with a brilliant knack for finding and hiring talent … coupled with an utter inability to let loose of the reins and let her people do their jobs.
2. You learn far more from negative leadership than from positive leadership. Because you learn how not to do it. And, therefore, you learn how to do it. NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF
Learn from bad leadership (see above). But don’t forget the lessons learned by observing a genuinely good leader either.
We’ve all heard the horrible board stories, yet how many “good board” stories have you heard?
I had the good fortune to work with one Executive Director who was nothing short of brilliant at putting together a remarkably cohesive board (and this for a tiny nonprofit agency with a yearly budget of $500,000) of remarkably diverse individuals. Every member of that board brought their own unique gifts to the table, whether it was in terms of connections, education, creative thinking or – let’s be blunt here – plenty of money.
3. Leadership is an active role; ‘lead’ is a verb. But the leader who tries to do it all is headed for burnout, and in a powerful hurry. BILL OWENS
Learn how to delegate. Given half a chance, people will rise to meet the level of your expectations of them.
4. Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. BILL BRADLEY
Allocate for training.
One of my all time favorite employers mandated that every employee take a minimum of two enrichment courses per year. Thanks to her leadership, staff was always up-to-date on the latest software and business techniques.
By the same token, in nearly every nonprofit position that I have held, I have paid out of pocket for books and training (for shame!). Next to your donors, your employees are your greatest resource.
5. No man ever listened himself out of a job. CALVIN COOLIDGE
Listening involves more than sitting down with your board members and staff. Real leaders aren’t stuck in hierarchal notions. Real leaders will occasionally take on receptionist duties or data entry to gain perspective and stock of the public’s perception of them.
6. If there is anything that a man can do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Respect creativity and give it a chance. It may work … then again, it may not.
I once proposed setting up an eBay account for a nonprofit organization I was working with. Board members and donors donated items and I photographed, listed them, sold them and shipped them. It netted over $8,000, but was, in the long run, a disappointing venture in terms of the time and effort involved.
7. You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Prepare for the future by acknowledging that, like fine wine, donor-centric fundraising is your long-term solution – and it takes time.