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June 2016

May Nonprofit Blog Carnival: Leadership in Fundraising

I have the pleasure of hosting May's carnival and I chose the topic of 'leadership in fundraising'. I believe poor leadership is one of the biggest threats to our profession, so I was interested to see what stories and posts I would receive.

I've been fortunate to work for some great leaders in my career. One of the most vivid lessons I was taught early in my career is neatly summed up in this Gaping Void image and associated post:

Gaping Void Leadership

Probably my favourite submission this month comes from Beth Ann Locke. She shares why her first non-profit boss was so good. Among the nine gifts Beth shares are trust, belief in staff and mentoring. How many of the nine gifts have people you have worked for demonstrated? Do you practice the same with your own team? 

Joe Garecht from Fundraising Authority explains how to be a great development director. According to Joe, 'Leading means being able to make decisions, take initiative, and bear responsibility for both successes and failures.'

Joan Garry shares the five attributes of a great executive director. She takes a closer look at five attributes that make Ellen DeGeneres such a strong leader.

Are you recruiting for a new development leader? Joan also shares some interview questions (and answers for the candidates) that you should be asking.

Jeremy Koch of Empower Nonprofits rightly states that everyone needs to recognise their ability to lead. He states we can all demonstrate everyday leadership if we choose to do so.

Christine Fuller answers some interesting questions about leadership for development professionals including an interesting take on how we can overcome our professions 'leadership crisis'.

Pamela Grow shares her gratitude for her first boss and what he taught her about courage, strength, grace and dignity.

As well as stories on leadership, I thought it would be useful to share some reports and resources that you can use in your own leadership efforts.

Sophie Penney is the Program Director and a Lecturer for Penn State’s online Certificate in Philanthropic Leadership. Sophie shared a great summary of Jim Collin's excellent book Good to Great and the concept of 'level five leadership'.

The Great Fundraising Report by Adrian Sargeant and Revolutionise is always worth another look and has some good leadership pointers.

Penelope Burk's Donor Centred Leadership is one of my favourite non-profit books. Read how much poor leadership costs through increased staff turnover and related loss of fundraising income. This blog post on making time to learn how to manage and lead gives a flavour of the book.

Finally, I have used a number of the exercises in the Emerging Nonprofits Leaders Playbook in workshops. It is a fantastic resource that contains lots of useful tips, tools and exercises. A big 'thank you' to Beth Kanter, Third Plateau Impact Strategies and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation for producing such a wonderful (free) resource.

June's Nonprofit Blog Carnival

June's carnival is hosted by Nancy Schwartz author of the fantastic Getting Attention blog. Nancy is asking for people to share their experience of creating an all staff team of messengers. What are your experiences of doing this? What are your concerns? How do you ask, train and support your messengers?

Be sure to check out next month's topic on and see how you can get involved.