Chapter Leadership Brief 4.26.2018
By Jill Scibilia
Who is the smartest person in the room when developing the strategy for a prospective major donor?
The Board member who introduced the prospective supporter to you? Your CEO? A key Volunteer who helps deliver the program? The program staff member who wrote the curriculum or the one delivering the program? An Alum or Recipient of the services you offer? A Philanthropist who is already supporting the program? The C-suite Corporate Executive who is engaged? A program officer from a foundation with subject-area expertise? Your development counsel? Or you, the development professional, perhaps credentialed with a CFRE, ACFRE, FHAP, MBA, MPA…
So…who is the smartest person from this group? The answer of course is “all of the above.” In fact, there may be more people you decide to add to this list!
We convene these smart people as we engage in the unique match-making process we call fundraising. And when it works well, everyone feels engaged in the process and validated for the wisdom, advice, and resources they contribute. The donor feels inspired! She has found a way to make a difference in a way deeply meaningful to her in support of a program she understands is important to your organization’s mission (and is something you really need). Your program team is thrilled because the gift validates their work. Your Board Member feels proud that he made the introduction and he is motivated to make other introductions. Your CEO, who made the ask, is beaming and is asking you, “Who’s next?” You feel fulfilled as a fundraiser.
How do we get to this outcome? How do we go about engaging all of these smart people who we know will bring different perspectives and ideas in way that is beneficial to the organization and not a waste of time to you—and to them? These can be tough waters to navigate.
AFP has helped me to navigate these waters time and again by introducing me to the “smartest people in the room” in the world of fundraising. Fundraisers like you who are committed to making the world a better place through your work. Fundraisers from whom I have learned and with whom I have exchanged ideas and tips—based on best practices and grounded in ethical fundraising.
Thank you for all you do to make New York City a better place. If you are not already engaged in the AFP-NYC community, I encourage you to join the conversation. Contribute your wisdom. Ask the questions you have. Listen. We all have something to offer and learn.
I hope to see you on Fundraising Day on June 22nd when our AFP-NYC community comes together to celebrate the impact we make in New York City and beyond and to learn from one another.