SowSeedsofVictorySince both Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day are observed in February here in the USA, we’re taking a look at the “care and feeding of nonprofit CEOs.” We know in CompassPoint’s recent national survey of nonprofit fundraising, that CEO’s are particularly feeling the pressures of tightening budgets and diminishing fundraising results. If our nonprofits are going to thrive, we need these men and women to have the support and staffing to carry out their missions with full funding.

So I dedicate this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival to these leaders.

An open call to support nonprofit CEO’s and Executive Directors

When I made the call to nonprofit bloggers a few weeks ago, I gave them pretty free reign in how they want to communicate with nonprofit executives.

The results are quite interesting!

Posts that got into the Presidents’ Day theme

  • Mark Titi got right into the spirit with his post “Would George Washington Applaud Your Fundraising Grit?” He takes a look at Washington’s experience and points out four areas that can specifically help nonprofit presidents. Check out his post at: Would George Washington Applaud your Fundraising Grit?.
  • Lori Halley of Wild Apricot also got into the Presidents’ Day spirit with her post “Making Fundraising a Priority of Presidential Proportions.” She writes about some of the challenges of leading an organization and gives four great tips for giving fundraising the presidential priority it needs. You can read her post at: Making Fundraising a Priority of Presidential Proportions.

Posts to people who work with CEOs

  • Often CEO’s aren’t positioned for succeed in fundraising. To help alleviate that, Tony Martignetti shared an interview with two chief executives–Mindy Duitz at Learning Leaders and Karen Pearl at God’s Love We Deliver. They reveal their insights on how to motivate, engage and position your CEO to be a fundraising MVP. You can listen to this edition of Nonprofit Radio at: The CEO as Fundraising MVP & The Fine Art of Conversion.
  • In a similar vein, Dani Robbins wrote a piece on the role of the nonprofit CEO. She says that leading an organization is a big job that looks much easier than it is. In fact, like all leadership done well, it looks like nothing. Her post sheds light on all the CEO’s really do. You can read it at: The Role of a Nonprofit CEO.
  • Over on Network for for Good’s blog, Liz Ragland has compiled four talking points to help people build a case for online giving. These are to help start the conversation with you nonprofit CEO and board. You can read them at: How to Get Your Board on Board with Online Fundraising.

Posts to CEOs

  • In a post directed at nonprofit executives, Jason Dick offers a quick post on helping kick off your first 90-days in the position. You can read his post at: Building Allies.
  • Cindi Phallen also writes a post to new CEOs. As she states, it can be downright intimidating to be responsible for creating an effective fundraising strategy as a new CEO! Her tips will get you off to a great start! Read them at: Five Fundraising Facts for New CEOs.
  • Claire Axelrad writes an open letter to nonprofit leaders calling for them to embrace culture of philanthropy, one that gets everyone involved. As she says, “Unless you’ve created a culture of philanthropy in your organization – one where everyone who works there is fully informed and passionate about your work and the values you enact in the community – then you’re inevitably going to blow opportunities to garner vital support. Under-informed workers lead to disengaged workers. Disengaged workers lead to disengaged constituents. And here’s how it happens.” You can read it all at: How the ‘It’s Not My Job’ Syndrome Pervades Nonprofits and Kills Fundraising.
  • Adam Weinger reminds CEOs of a easy source of funding that’s often overlooked: matching gifts from donors’ employers. His post highlights 7 strategies for promoting matching gifts to your community. Read his post at: Seven Ways Nonprofit CEOs Can Integrate Matching Gifts Into A Development Strategy.
  • In another open letter to nonprofit executives, Erik Anderson explains how hiring a fundraising professional does not allow CEOs to wash their hands of their resource development responsibilities. He also encourages CEOs to use well written annual performance plans as a way to communicate and effectively manage their fundraising professionals. His post is at: Dear Non-Profit President / CEO / Executive Director,
  • Jake Seliger takes a slightly different tack by offering a piece on raising money through grants that reminds presidents and EDs there’s no free lunch in grant writing lunch. Many boards and executives think that getting money from grants “just happens.” He reminds us that’s simply not so. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for! You can read his post here: Tilting at Windmills and Fees: Why There is no Free Grant Writing Lunch and You Won’t Find Writers for Nothing.
  • In his post, Chris Davis encourages nonprofit presidents to consider the power of texting for their nonprofit. He discusses the potential for increasing engagement, donor acquisition, and donor retention through mobile giving. His post is at: Create a Movement with the Power of Mobile Engagement and Fundraising.

A few more posts

  • Kathie Kramer Ryan says your relationship with your CEO is an important professional relationship–and a key to fundraising success. She shares ways to overcome some of the more common CEO challenges, including the best ways to brief your CEO and how to manage her calendar in order to set meetings with donors. Read the post at: You and Your CEO – A Match Made in Heaven?
  • Dan Hanley took the opportunity to write to board members, exhorting them to hire executive directors who lead, not micro-manage. His post can be read here: Where is non-profit leadership?
  • I really like Joanne Fritz’s exploration of how leaders are typically hired, and how that breaks down in the nonprofit sector. Check out her post at: Executive Directors and Fundraising: Not Always a Perfect Match.

Research project: The 5 Major Reasons CEO have a Hard Time Fundraising

CEO’s and Executive Directors are definitely in a tough position. We at have personally reached out to over 100 CEO’s, EDs, and presidents to help identify the top 5 things that get in the way of your fundraising.

Would you help our research? If your position is a CEO, Executive Director, or president, please take this brief 9 question survey:

Be sure to read the call for submissions for March’s carnvival at How Can We Disrupt the Nonprofit Sector?

The Nonprofit Blog Carnival happens each month. Sign up for reminders at To learn more, check out What Is the Nonprofit Blog Carnival? and Nonprofit Blog Carnival Archives.

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