March 31, 2013

People can learn – and must. Organizations can change – and must. Workshops can help. Reading the right books and bloggers can make a difference. Good conversations – with disagreement – can help. What are you doing to learn and change?

On March 29, 2013, I had the honor of serving as keynote presenter for the third annual East Bay Forum hosted by CompassPoint. The focus of the forum … UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising.

More than 100 nonprofit organizations, mostly in the East Bay, attended…including development officers, executive directors, and board members…mostly teams from the same organizations. That’s the way to build understanding, learn and change – bring a team from the organization. Make sure that the team talks and then helps design and facilitate change in the organization.

Within 24 hours, I received an email from a consultant attending the session with one of her clients. Here’s what she said: “I am working with a small non profit to do a development audit and create their fund development plan. They have a lot of development challenges.
“I emailed the ED the study (the UnderDeveloped Report) a few weeks ago and she read it but did not quite get the full understanding of all that was lacking with her organization for successful fund development .
“But then she went to the workshop on Friday and today I was at their board retreat and she could not stop talking about the workshop. She said ‘I have never been so beat up in a four hour workshop and felt so great!’
“Now she gets it and the board chair is starting to understand and they both see that the board needs to be involved in fund raising and the role of the DD and investing in long term donor cultivation etc.
“So I am so inspired that this study and the workshop can have an impact and that DD/ED and board can make changes with the right information and commitment!”

How wonderful. That ED heard the problems identified in the report. She recognized her organization’s challenges. She understands that the organization can learn and change. Ask yourself: Do you know your organization’s problems? Are you prepared to face the challenges and learn and make change? Can you enable your staff colleagues, board members, executive director (if you are the development officer) to see the challenges, follow the body of knowledge, and make change?

It was a great morning there in the east bay of California. It was, of course, tough love day. Most days are tough love day with me. I love and respect the nonprofit sector and its role in community and democracy. But there is lots to fix for the nonprofit sector to be stronger and produce greater impact. Changes in fund development. Changes in governance. Changes in executive leadership.

Now is the time for your executive director, develop director, and management team to read UnderDeveloped. Read my January 3-part blog in response. Your fund development committee needs to read the study. And your board, too. Talk about the implications. Figure out how to fix this!

For help with change, visit the Free Download Library on my website. Read Simone Uncensored, my blog, and subscribe to my e-news. You will receive regular tips and ideas about how to be stronger, raise more money, and engage a top-notch board in top-notch ways. Maybe you’ll need consulting help. So find a good consultant.

Just do it, as Nike says. A trite phrase these days. But nonetheless. Do it. Fix yourself. Be all that you can be. You know what I mean!

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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