Category: Leadership

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What You Can Do to Plan for the Next Generation of Nonprofit Fundraisers

We Baby Boomers are rapidly aging out of nonprofit leadership. Meaning, there’s a huge impending leadership void in the sector that needs to be filled. Also, nonprofit board members tend to skew older and are often quietly distrustful of youth and “inexperience.” And so the cycle continues. Yet, in less than a decade, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. It would behoove your nonprofit to upgrade any outmoded staffing practices to facilitate the growth of the organization’s next generation of leaders—many of whom may already be in your organization. Millennials care deeply about climate change because they are

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A Lesser-Known View of Wellness

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Wellness usually focuses on your personal responsibility to stay healthy. There’s a bit of “blame the victim” syndrome in that. I have a different view. You see, my 25 years of fundraising leadership has shown me that 10 key organizational development touchpoints do more to keep you healthy and well than almost anything else! I talked about these 10 touchpoints on a recent webinar, which you can watch at this link. My view is that if you have agreement on these issues, then you have less stress. And when you’re feeling less stress, you can raise

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Board Leaders

Cultivate Heavy Lifters for Your Board

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Your board can be a robust fundraising engine, but not if it’s cluttered with board members who are light lifters. And, let’s face it, most nonprofits have boards that do very little. It’s better to have even a few people on your board who are willing to put in the time to guide your organization to its greatest impact. I’ve seen organizations transformed by three or four such people, and it’s much more advantageous to recruit this type of board member. The question, of course, is how do you cultivate the heavy lifters to ensure that you’re giving them

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Inspiration

The Fundraising Future You Want

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA I met Dr. Paul Farmer at a conference 15 years ago. Unexpectedly, Paul recently passed away in his sleep from an acute cardiac event while in Rwanda, where he had been teaching. He was one of the founders of Partners in Health (PIH). As an international healthcare organization founded in 1987 PIH was, and remains,  driven by its vision “to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair.” Partners in Health inspires me. That is why I keep giving to it

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Reassuring Donors in Turbulent Times

We all lose perspective. Donors particularly lose perspective about their vital role in supporting your mission when faced with seemingly more crucial causes. That’s especially true right now as they experience the horrors of war, political misinformation campaigns that fracture our society, and personal economic struggles like higher prices. In the midst of the AIDS pandemic, Peter Drucker once told me that it was his job “to lift the chin of [his] staff and volunteers to inspire them beyond the fear of dying to embrace their full potential to care for others and to provide real service.” So I will

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New Year Questions Every Fundraiser Is Asking

New Year Questions Every Fundraiser Is Asking

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA A good question is said to be worth more than a good answer! I believe that wholeheartedly. The dawn of a new year is a perfect time to reassess. As fundraisers, investigating our strategies and practices brings us more revenue. The start of the year is a chance to be reflective and to look ahead. It also offers the first opportunity for many of us to take a deep breath and relax after the hectic year-end giving season. This investigation starts with asking the right questions. The most empowering and galvanizing questions create value. They

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The Importance of Good Followership

The Importance of Good Followership

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA It’s a pity that being a follower gets such a bad rap because everyone involved with fundraising out to have the opportunity–even the responsibility–to act as both decisive leader and conscientious follower. The writings of the eminent Harvard leadership professor Barbara Kellerman have helped me to develop my own intuitions concerning the dynamic and mutual influence between leaders and followers. She defines followers in two ways: First, they are subordinates who have less power, influence, and authority than their superior. This is the more conventional view; the low men on the totem pole view, as

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What Do Fundraisers Do (And why it matters)

What Do Fundraisers Do? (And why it matters)

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Having worked as a professional fundraiser for more than two decades, I am convinced that a better understanding of our work is needed. People generally know what an accountant or bookkeeper does. By virtue of television, people think they know what a lawyer or forensic scientist does. But when it comes to fundraising, there are two common misperceptions. One: those high-end fundraisers who work for the most distinguished hospitals, universities, and museums and earn high salaries are thought of as miracle workers who weave magic spells over wealthy philanthropists and mysteriously produce large sums of

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Spotlight on Jill Mendelson A Nonprofit Woman With Whom to Reckon

Spotlight on Jill Mendelson: A Nonprofit Woman With Whom to Reckon

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA To interview Jill Mendelson of UJA-Federation of New York is to understand why she’s enjoyed a 33-year run of leadership there: she has a vision, and she means to actualize it. She is the kind of person who will hate having a spotlight on her. But living as we do in a time desperate for sincere public service and honest character, we, as fundraisers, can benefit from her views of our “high-profit” sector, its challenges and opportunities, what’s she’s learned over these many years, the accomplishments she’s most proud of, and what continues to inspire

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