August 14, 2009

Instead of thinking you have so little power, step up to the plate and own the power that you have. Frederick Douglass observed that people don’t give power to you, you have to take it.

Fundraisers and development offices have lots of power, since they produce money. (I’m convinced that your colleagues think you actually print the money in the basement! So use this positive position!)

This just in from a colleague in Cohort 18 at Saint Mary’s University, Minnesota, where I teach in the Masters Program in Philanthropy and Development: “There has never been a greater ‘aha’ moment than the moment a Director of Development fully understands fund development and the empowerment it gives to transform an organization. This is me! I feel I have finally absorbed fund development’s entire complexity but simplicity – and the importance and capacity of a Fund Development Committee and its implantation into my organization.”

My colleague goes on to say: “Everything involved in fund development is linked and connected … to make a healthy philanthropic culture. Also key is to embrace leadership and be strong enough to break through our tradition of our dysfunction to finally have a means to accomplish our mission.”

Take your power. Use your power well. Use fund development as a powerful and good force to change how your organization works. Use fund development and your position to explain what needs to be in place, how everything is connected, and how dysfunction harms forward movement.

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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