Fundraising: Leadership vs Management

Sections of this topic

    In her recent (April 16) blog, “To Lead” vs. “To Manage” (see:, Julia Fabris McBride observed that “Organizations need leadership AND management.”

    That made me realize that … up to now, I’ve been talking about fundraising from the perspective of “management – the role of the director of development – managing the volunteer leaders who will be responsible for actually making “it” happen. The DOD is the manager who supports, encourages and trains an organization’s fundraising leaders.

    The fundraising “Leader” is someone who sets an example; and, by that example, gets others to want to become donors/advocates/leaders for a non-profit organization.

    The fundraising leader:
    1. Helps identify other potential leaders/donors;
    2. Conveys to those individuals the depth of his feeling/passion
    for the organization and its mission;
    3. Exhibits the satisfaction that she gets from seeing how people
    are helped by what the organization does;
    4. Helps to make all that possible with his contributions; and,
    5. Gets the prospective donor to where she wants to share in
    those feelings.

    The fundraising leader should not be seen as a “fundraiser.” S/he is a visible example of how a potential donor can share in the warm-and-fuzzies of being part of something really satisfying.

    Don’t get me wrong !! At some point it will be time for the “leader” to ask for the gift, but one of my favorite “rules” is that the leader should not ask for the gift until the donor is ready to say, “Yes.”

    And you’re thinking that it’s easy for me to say that, but you’re wondering how easy that is in reality. Want to know, stay tuned. Have specific questions to ask, ask’em.

    Have a question about starting or expanding your fundraising? Email me at With over 30 years of counselling in major gifts, capital campaigns, bequest programs and the planning studies to precede these three, we’ll work to answer your question.