As our society passed through its second spring equinox under a global pandemic, I took personal stock of my spring renewal achieved by successfully leading a team through a significant transition last year. Since change is constant and accelerating, two luminary leaders guided my daily journey of being a leader in transition. They are, President Theodore Roosevelt and author William Bridges, who pioneered “Managing Transitions,” a guidepost for leading a change process. [Read more…]
When I arrived at Bucknell University in 2016, I was thrilled by the challenges and opportunities that awaited me as the freshly minted dean of their prestigious College of Engineering. While my career in academia had seen a steady increase in leadership roles, I found myself in a whole new world. As excited as I was, I also recognized that there likely would be challenges ahead for which I had limited experience and (certainly) no formal training. [Read more…]
We all aspire to achieve great things, this means different things to different people. I was always focused on leading a team. I love working with people and more specifically, I love the energy that is created when I am engaged in inspirational conversations. It is for this reason that I consider myself lucky to be a professional fundraiser and even luckier to be leading a team of very accomplished and highly competent fundraisers. But there is a challenge that exists for many Directors in non profit organizations, and I believe it is an unspoken challenge. It is the trifecta effect, the challenge of leading your team, the challenge of working your own fundraising portfolio and the challenge of reporting up to the CEO. It is the curse I suppose of middle management, but it is not often discussed or addressed. It is for this reason that I’d like to share some of the strategies I have adapted over the years to deal with the aforementioned challenge. [Read more…]
Let’s get right to the point. Corporate sponsorship and corporate philanthropy are not the same. They are different—very different. And no matter which one you are considering, you probably aren’t thinking creatively enough.
Typically, philanthropy is done by individuals, not companies, but some companies still give for the sake of giving expecting nothing in return. Actually, that is philanthropy, especially when it comes to the Canada Revenue Agency or IRS. Philanthropy, or a donation by a company, is a gift made to a charity with no expectation of anything in return—no event passes or tickets to a gala, no logo inclusion, banners, tweets, or posts. Nothing! Zilch! Nada! Philanthropy comes from the heart; donations should be altruistic. [Read more…]
Five Ways to Empower Your Unique Working Style
Several years ago, when I got my first consulting job, it did not take me too long to realize one of the “perks” mistakenly not mentioned in my contract was the triggering of my imposter syndrome.
A few days ago on my morning run with my dog, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts. The hosts were talking about their predictions for what the top four regrets leaders will have once this whole pandemic has passed.
When they got to their prediction for the #1 regret, I knew immediately they were right.
It is the same issue that I’ve worked on with every leader I’ve ever coached. And one I struggle with, too.
The #1 regret?
I should have taken more time off.
So simple, and yet so true. [Read more…]
Mentorship is an evergreen topic of discussion amongst leaders and those aspiring to it. Wonderfully, today the conversation continues to evolve to intersect with issues of equity, diversity and inclusion to unpack the need for not just formal mentorship, but sponsorship and organizational responsibility.
But for many who work either alone, freelance or are just not supported at work, this is a journey they must take personal responsibility for. I firmly believe that in fact, any professional who cares deeply about their career needs to cultivate a healthy “third space” outside of work and home life. A professional sphere where they are not defined by their job title or technical capabilities. For me, a new world was opened up when I read the work of Dorie Clark pushing past the scarcity of the “gig economy” and instead proposing that we are all consultants now ( since hey, who will have a job for life any more ) and we hold “portfolio careers”.
On top of this concept that we will be flexible in our work space and the work we do over a lifetime of work, is the idea that we need to be creative and flexible in the mentors we seek too.
Yes, mentors with an “s”. You need multiple, and in fact when I’ve supported peers to really sit down and think about it, we all have several but it’s not a thought out process. And there’s nothing more dangerous than a mentor you didn’t choose. [Read more…]
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Collecting Courage: Joy, Pain, Freedom, Love is a perfect example of what happens when two parallel paths converge to create something special and of significance.
On one pathway was Our Right to Heal, an initiative featuring the voices of ten Black Canadian fundraisers sharing their journey towards healing from painful and traumatic experiences. In May 2020, a few days before George Floyd was killed at the hands of the Minneapolis police on May 25th, the stories were published by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Global). His death served as a flashpoint triggering worldwide outrage about police brutality against Black people and igniting protests against anti-Black racism.
On a related and separate path, our group of Black Canadian fundraisers selected Cap in Hand: How Charities are Failing the People of Canada and the World by Gail Picco as our book club selection for December 2019. When Gail joined us for the discussion, she shared her idea about a compilation of writings featuring the voices of Black fundraisers. In March 2020, Gail became the Editor-in-Chief of The Charity Report, a new digital magazine, and at the same time launched Gail K. Picco Books, an imprint under Civil Sector Press.
These two convergent paths intersected, creating a perfect storm and genesis for the book. Conditions and timing were right to address historic exclusion and oppression in the charity sector. In June, discussions got underway and Collecting Courage: Joy, Pain, Freedom, Love was born. [Read more…]
As coaches and facilitators, we have watched our community members and their organizations experience tremendous challenges throughout 2020. We have also been inspired by the creativity and resilience both in our community and the nonprofit sector. Each December, the Fundraising Leadership team offers reflections on the past year. Michelle shared her reflections and rituals in 2019 and Janice did the same in 2018.
Reflection can be defined in many ways. It can represent careful thought being given to a topic. It can also mean the image of something in a mirror.
The metaphor of a mirror feels relevant this year as 2020 reflected many important things. It showed us more about ourselves, the nonprofit sector, and society as a whole. It reminded us all of the importance of connection and community.
In this spirit of connection, we decided to highlight some of the voices from the Fundraising Leadership Community. To honour the collective and personal experiences of 2020.
We were inspired by these words of our community members and we know you will be too. [Read more…]
Raising enough money to support programs and services can be challenging, especially for small and medium sized organizations.
This year, Covid and the resulting inability to have fundraising “as usual” has brought even greater obstacles and anxieties to many organizations.
Are any of these four common fundraising challenges tripping up your organization?