​Pursuing Authentic Leadership

Sometimes experienced fundraisers are promoted to leadership positions without management training. On the flip side, board members who have excellent management skills but no fundraising experience are recruited. This approach can lead to a short-term — and shortsighted — focus.

Concord Leadership Group released a Nonprofit Sector Leadership Report for 2016 that revealed some striking information. Nearly half — 49 percent — of nonprofits have no strategic plan in place. Further, 62 percent of those that do have a strategic plan do not mention fundraising in the plan. And 77 percent of the nonprofits studied offered no leadership training to staff members.

At the AFP International Fundraising Conference, Leah G. Eustace of Blue Canoe Philanthropy and R. Scott Fortnum of The Living City Foundation spoke about the value of “authentic leadership.” Authentic leaders feel a sense of purpose, develop strong relationships, and exhibit self-discipline, heart, and a commitment to core values that is in tune with their nonprofit.

Successful organizations that value authentic leadership encourage people to show emotions and enthusiasm, hire passionate employees, and celebrate accomplishments. Staff and board members become inspired by the cause more than the financials.

To read more about authentic leadership check out “Authentic Leadership: The Key to Successful Fundraising Programs” in The NonProfit Times.

Eustace and Fortnum’s presentation on this topic as it relates to hospital fundraising programs can also be viewed on SlideShare.