Schultz & Williams (S&W) was pleased to sponsor the Advanced Executive Track at the Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference in Washington, D.C., which convened 77 major gifts officers, directors of development, CEOs and Board members from across the country. The track was by invitation only and featured a full day of dynamic speakers and discussion. The following are key takeaways from the three guest speakers.
Leveraging the Fundraising Partnership Between Boards, CEOs and Development Staff, presented by Anne Wallestad, president and CEO, Board Source
Ann’s presentation examined the challenges Board members face in the fundraising arena. She emphasized the critical role of the Board in evolving fundraising strategy by forming a partnership between the Board and staff, embracing the importance of investing in fundraising, and acquiring a high-level understanding of fundraising tactics and strategy. She highlighted the importance of Board members’ having deep knowledge of their organization’s programs and having clarity of expectations during Board recruitment. Ann also presented a new definition of fundraising effectiveness which asks the fundamental questions:
- Are we raising enough money to fund our work?
- How much does it cost us to net a dollar?
- What percentage of our budget would be unfunded if we lost our top five donors?
The key lesson from Ann’s session is that many Board members want to engage in development on both a strategic and tactical level, but they simply do not have the tools and language to do so. Consider a Board retreat/training session that presents the basics of fundraising and engages the Board in a discussion of what they specifically can do as ambassadors, connectors and solicitors.
Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, George Jones, CEO, Bread for the City
George’s session explored the importance of inclusivity and the fundamental challenges confronting an organization trying to achieve true diversity and equity. He noted the importance of utilizing language to emphasize people’s strength and resilience rather than their disadvantages. He also discussed the challenges in creating a diverse working team within Bread for the City, particularly in the development arena, and described his difficulties in achieving a truly diverse Board.
The biggest takeaway from George’s presentation is that achieving diversity and inclusivity requires considerable focus by the entire organization, including both Board and staff. As the Governance Committee of the Board undertakes identifying its next round of candidates, make diversity a critical goal and underscore that with an intense search for new candidates that fulfills this goal.
Being an Authentic Leader in Times of Chaos and Change, Tabitha Glenn, executive director of national direct marketing, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Tabitha’s presentation focused on the definition of an authentic leader and identified core values as the most challenging facet of becoming an authentic leader. She dissected our era of chaos and change as she described the multigenerational and multicultural workforce, the existence of fewer authentic connections, and the lack of clear and consistent giving trends by sector. Tabitha also provided an in-depth authentic leaders toolkit.
The big takeaway here is that being a leader in the 21st century requires more focus on social media than in the past, which makes sense considering that excellent communications is a cornerstone of great leadership. Define the values that you, as a leader in the nonprofit sector, view as essential and dynamic. Begin to communicate those so that the message reaches everyone in your organization and the sphere of your influence directly. Set the standard, everyone is watching you!
When the Direct Marketing Association of Washington and AFP-DC founded the Bridge Conference 14 years ago, the fundamental premise of the conference was that all facets of development and direct response marketing must be integrated to create momentum-building, impactful organizations. More than 30 years ago, Schultz & Williams was founded on the same concept—that strategic planning, communications and development need to be integrated to achieve long-term success.
We approach our work with the conviction that every nonprofit’s development, management and marketing strategies must be fully integrated for organizations to realize their greatest mission impact. S&W congratulates the Bridge Conference leadership and all those who made this year’s conference a stunning and record-breaking success.