The December Giving Carnival is on the topic of Leadership. Specifically, the question being asked is "How much does the leadership of an Executive Director or CEO affect fundraising?"
Understanding this top nonprofit executive’s responsibilities is required before we are able to answer this question.
What Does the Nonprofit Executive Director or CEO Do?
To answer this question, I contacted Ms. Annie Magnant who is President
of the Arthritis Foundation, Virginia Chapter. The following is a generic list of duties I received from Annie that you might expect the leading nonprofit executive to be responsible for:
- Works in partnership with volunteer leadership i.e. Board of Directors to set strategic direction and create organizational vision
- Interfaces between the Board and Staff
- Oversees mission delivery and holds organization accountable for measurable outcomes
- Engages with the community and stakeholders
- Hires, coaches and maintains a vibrant and competent staff team
- Manages finances and infrastructure
- Manages organization’s resources – human (both staff and volunteer) and financial
- Oversees fundraising planning and execution
How Much Does the Leadership of an Executive Director or CEO Affect Fundraising?
- The CEO must inspire confidence with donors and set the tone for donor relations.
- A good relationship with the Board will be a motivating force behind Board members willingly donating and conducting their own personal fundraising efforts. The CEO helps board members stay connected to the mission when times get difficult.
- Being open with the public about how the organization spends its contributions will encourage additional donations and a larger number of volunteers (who can also support fundraising activities).
- Direct involvement in the hiring, training and promoting of development staff will ensure a superior capability to effectively conduct fundraising efforts.
- Overseeing the planning and operations of the organization’s fundraising activities is a direct affect by the top executive.
If you are involved with a nonprofit organization in any capacity, take a few minutes to thank the executive leader for his or her efforts. There is a significant amount of responsibility riding on the shoulders of that person. He or she will be grateful for your encouragement.
How much does the leadership of an Executive Director or CEO affect fundraising? Although not the only factor, I believe the level of leadership demonstrated can make or break the ability of the organization to raise the funds it needs.