Stop or Go? What Move to Make During Leadership Transition


West / California 160 Views

Mel and Pearl Shaw

Part two of a two-part series

Should you stop your fundraising when your organization has a leadership change? Slow it down? When do you put on the brakes?

Part one of this series provided recommendations for how to assess green lighting your fundraising. In this column we offer examples that might give you reason to pause and assess whether or not – and how – you should move forward with your fundraising.
Yellow light, red light.

Consider placing certain elements of your fundraising on hold if you find yourself in the following situation(s).

  • You don’t have a solid plan to guide your fundraising. You may be in a situation where the person(s) who are leaving were the “rain makers.”. You may not have been working from a plan because you could depend on the relationships and history that your executive staff or board had built. In many cases people give to people. But if there isn’t a plan that documents your fundraising processes you may have to regroup and regrow your fundraising when your “people” leave.
  • Your remaining leadership is not committed to fundraising and has not been engaged in cultivation and solicitation activities. In situations similar to the one above, board members and other members of the executive team may have had the “luxury” of not having to focus on fundraising. It takes time for people to understand the fundraising process, to build relationships with donors and funders, and to become comfortable and knowledge enough to cultivate and solicit donors.
  • You don’t have staff who can step in and keep things moving. The loss of a development director can put an organization into a tail spin. Questions arise: “How do I run reports?” “Do you remember how much Ms. Jones pledged during the last campaign?” “Who is working on our gala?” If your organization hasn’t developed a culture of shared knowledge, team work, and documented processes it may be hard for even the most well-intentioned person to “step in and step up.”

Other issues that may cause you to exercise caution include a lack of confidence in the plan, leadership and staff; lack of clarity on what you are raising money for; and/or low morale amongst leadership and constituency. Other reasons could include the reality that you are already behind on implementing the current fundraising plan; and/or the uncertainty that people are expressing regarding the direction the organization will take with new leadership.

Copyright 2018 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

[Mel and Pearl Shaw believe in taking the time to evaluate when to stop, pause or go. Call us at (901) 522-8727 to explore how we can support your fundraising. ]