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Today I presented a 6-hour workshop on Purpose in Fundraising Leadership at the FIA Conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. What did I learn / observe…There is still an enormous opportunity for for-purpose leaders to learn the science and art of fundraising. If you are a Director (or CEO) of a for-purpose organisation, you may know this, but I’m going to remind you of a few things…

  1. Know your purpose. Sounds simple but are you crystal clear on why you are on the board? Are you crystal clear on what your specific role is? Do you truly understand why others are on the board?
  2. Know your problem. Do you truly understand the social or environmental problem you are trying to solve? Have you actually asked your beneficiaries what they need and whether or now you are addressing that need? (hint.. what they need might have changed since last and will certainly have changed since the last decade ticked over).
  3. Purpose first! If you do understand why you are there and you also understand why your organisation exists and who / what you serve, work out how to solve that problem and THEN what it will cost. Maybe you do need to raise more, but not for the sake of income growth. What if you can solve the problem at scale in a way that will cost you less?! Technology, collaboration…
  4. Know your people. SO much can be gained from knowing the PEOPLE who are your stakeholders. Do you know your fellow Directors in a personal capacity? Have you actually spent time with them outside of board meetings? Do you know your major donors. Do you spend time with them to understand their personal motivations? Time with them without talking about your organisations. Do you know why your people, your employees, get out of bed everyday to serve your organisational objectives? Have you heard their personal stories?

Small but simple observations and learnings that will make a HUGE difference. I guarantee it.

Rachael McLennan, Executive Director