Friday, March 4, 2016

Governance toolbox: Faces and burdens

I have several options to share with you this week, but I think I'll keep it short and focused on a couple of important offerings

The Seven Faces of Philanthropy -- The research (and resulting book) behind this new BoardSource has long influenced my understanding of not only major gift fundraising but giving at all levels and of time as well. I've been known to stretch beyond the original study pool (major gift donors), especially as I taught from Prince and File's book in my online nonprofit management courses, because the fit to giving in many forms simply was too good. I've written at least a couple of posts here on the topic. But it's not exactly been a framework that has received the visibility from the sector that it deserved. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find a link to this new document in my email in-box. Clearly, it's only one model of understanding and engaging differing donor motivations. But it is a rich one, and one I believe you and your board (and your development staff, if they aren't already familiar with it) will find valuable. Oh, and here's a suggestion: have your board members read it and respond to the donor personality that most resonates for them. Use that as a springboard for reflections on what motivates them to give of their time to you and about how you can use that information to better address their legitimate needs. I suspect they - and you - will find it as fascinating and revealing as my students did.

Trustee: One tough job -- This one just popped onto my radar as I was checking a bookmarked option on LinkedIn. It's Cathy Trower's latest post there, one I hadn't yet seen or read. She offers recommendations at the end of the post, which you may find interesting. But more than that, I decided to share because it offers a simple - and powerfully accurate - acknowledgment that governance is a tough job. We ask a lot, possibly far more than is realistic, of our volunteer leaders (at least if we actually expect perfection). They take a lot of hits and receive a lot of criticism for their many (perceived) failures. Some is merited. A lot, in my view, is grounded in great expectations and marginal support. I found value in stopping for a moment and acknowledging with Cathy that our boards carry a lot on their shoulders and most are doing the very best they can under challenging circumstances. They are "damned if you do, damned if you don't." Whether or not we're in a place to change that today, we can at least step back and admit that. And thank them.

No comments: