By Steffani Lautenschlager, MEd, CFRE, Senior Consultant
July 1 marks the new fiscal year for many of us. A former colleague would remind me, “You start back at zero and get to do it all over again!” He said it light heartedly, but he was right.
The new year (calendar or fiscal) brings on anticipation of what could be, plans that you get to implement (like a great vacation or how you are going to reach your goals), and…the clock resets and you get to dream and do something new and different in the new year. This is true for our personal selves and for our professional selves. We are development officers. We get the thrill of connecting the passions and interests of our donors with the incredible work we do to change our cities and world. It’s a new year. A new beginning. A new You.
Our team just drove to reach all of the audacious goals in this last fiscal year and now we have to do it all over again? YES! The turning of the calendar to July 1 should remind us how intentional our efforts need to be so that we can be successful in building lasting partners that can enable us to do the important work of our missions in the new fiscal year.
Don’t wait for instruction to jump in. Take initiative as your new fiscal year begins. Consider how would you plan for a major donor visit – perhaps some of that pre-planning could also help in your new year too.
You have a new year. Or even a new role. This is a chance to redefine your approach and to be even better than the year before. You create the possibilities. You define how you respond to the challenges and how You succeed. I would love to hear what’s in store for the new You this fiscal year; both personally and professionally. Let’s connect! Reach out at (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com.
#LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #NewYearNewYou
By Linda B. Haley, CFRE, President & CEO
It’s that time of year! Spring has sprung and the summer months are here – and folks are waving their sparkly new engagement rings all over social media. In the spirit of engagement, can we talk about BOARD engagement?
So often, we say how much we want our board members to engage – but then, when they do, maybe it’s not exactly the kind of engagement we had in mind. Why is that?
Let me hazard a couple of guesses. Either a) Executive Directors and Board Chairs hurriedly create board agendas in a vacuum with minimal input from leadership staff…or maybe b) committees begin work either without a clear purpose and fully defined meaningful work OR with a purpose defined by the committee, not the staff.
Sit and think about that for a moment, would you? We are letting, indeed, asking our board members – who do NOT work at our nonprofit or in our professional space – to be experts in our nonprofits and in our professional space. Kind of makes you scratch your head, doesn’t it?
Why does this incongruity occur? I think it’s because nonprofit staff – including senior leadership – often feel uncomfortable being tell-directed with board members. Maybe we want to be grateful and respectful – both good things. But in truth what we’re doing is creating a knowledge gap – and our board members, most of whom love us and would do just about anything for us, fill that gap with their best inclinations for what might be helpful. See the rub?
As nonprofit leaders, it’s our job to set a clear purpose for the board and its committees. It’s our job to give the board and its committees meaningful work. Just “reporting out” and then asking them to weigh in is not enough. We as staff must sit together and ask ourselves, “What do we really need our board members – each board member – to do for us? What tasks will be helpful for moving the organization forward while providing a meaningful experience for our board members?” It’s tough but scintillating work!
To be mutually successful, we must define that work clearly, specifying staff/board roles and responsibilities – when everyone knows what her job is, the work gets done, feelings are spared, board and staff are satisfied and fulfilled, and the nonprofit grows in power around its mission. Doesn’t that sound great? Let me tell you from someone who’s tried it – it is!
Want to learn more about how to create meaningful work for your board members? Contact Let’s Build Hope – we want to hear from you: (314) 716-2496 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com. #LBH #LetsBuildHope #GlimmersOfHope #MeaningfulWork #ChangeTheCulture #BoardStaffTeamwork!