December 8, 2013

One of the biggest problems we have in fundraising is bad bosses and lost-in-space board members.

What’s a bad boss? Just read the UnderDeveloped Report. Read my response and suggestions.

Sometimes the fundraising field is just so…so… Ill-informed. Ignores the body of knowledge. Disregards research. Doesn’t apply the fundamental principles and practice of great fundraising.

And without this knowledge and research and expertise, it’s hard to fight your boss and board. And mostly, your boss and board are really ill-informed and ignorant and apply the “opinion over expertise” approach. But remember, your boss and board members don’t need to know this stuff. Your boss and board just need to listen to you, because you’re supposed to be the expert, the one reading the research and interpreting the body of knowledge and and …

(So here are some big questions for you: Do you know the right stuff? Do your boss and board listen to you because you know the right stuff and they respect you and you communicate effectively? And if your boss and board don’t listen to you, why? And if it’s their problem and not yours, then find another job. Because you deserve better!)

Anyone who knows my work knows that I follow Jeff Brooks’ blog. And anyone who reads Jeff Brooks has encountered his stupid nonprofit ads. Jeff comments on nonprofit ads created by some of the world’s best ad agencies. And when I say “comments on,” I mean Jeff destroys these ads! He explains why they don’t work. And he warns nonprofits to avoid these ad agency creative traps.

So here’s today’s idea to teach your boss and board (and also your fellow staff colleagues who aren’t working in fund development): Periodically show one of Jeff’s stupid nonprofit ads – video or print or whatever. And then read Jeff’s critique to your people. Let Jeff tell the story to your boss and board and fund development committee and individual board members. Let Jeff do the talking.

Fundraisers teach their bosses and boards and board members and staff colleagues. Do it! Do it now and over and over.

P.S. What prompted me to tell you this right now? Jeff’s 11-25-13 blog about the whales. And what the creators said. And how smart the nonprofit was not to use it!


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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