Are you Failing as a Nonprofit Leader?

Jun 30, 2020Fundraising, Leadership, Mindset, Nonprofits, Philanthropy, Relationships

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Are you failing as a nonprofit leader?

Listen to this . . .

Since the coronavirus pandemic, “Americans have grown more confident in nonprofits, and they now trust them more than they do state, local, or federal governments.” That’s according to a new poll reported in June by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

What does this mean for you as a nonprofit leader?

It means people trust you to fulfill the mission of the organization.

In fact, it means you guide the nonprofit to reach its fullest potential.

No doubt, people have confidence in you and are counting on you. 

More directly put, here’s what I think the trust factor means for you. You . . .

1. Are Not Doing Your Job if you are Not Asking for Money

A good friend of mine is very passionate about a particular cause and nonprofit. In fact, he has given at a significant level to this organization for years.

And yet, he only receives newsletters and other mass mailings.

His last gift of $2,500 was met with a form letter from the executive director. No one ever made personal contact with him. Not even through this economic and virus crisis. Over the years, this donor has given over $25,000 to this nonprofit.

This is a small-sized nonprofit with a small budget.

This is not how to treat and show gratitude to a top donor, no matter your size organization.

If you’re not treating your major donors with respect by staying in close communication with them and asking them to make a gift, you are failing at your job as a nonprofit leader and fundraiser.

People want to give, make a difference, and be courted in the donor giving process.

It’s up to you to make this happen.

And yes, you should be asking for money right now through this crisis.


2. Are Given Permission to Make Bold Asks

People know it takes contributions to run a nonprofit.

Your donors know you, and they want to hear from you.

If you are hesitant about asking for gifts, it’s time to push past any hesitancy, engage donors, and ask them for support.

Share a compelling reason for your donors to support your organization. You need operating funds, right? Let then know you have been hit hard by this crisis.

You need funds, and people want to help.

3. Understand Your Role and Responsibility 

…as a nonprofit leader for your community.

You have a critical and key role to play. In fact, people are depending on you to advance the mission….. a mission for which they are deeply passionate.

Simply put, there are expectations.

With your leadership, the nonprofit can fulfill its mission and address a community need or problem.

You are looked upon as a leader to answer the call to provide a more just society, open access to education, learning opportunities through the arts, ways to serve the disadvantaged and hurting, and many more missions that serve as the heartbeat of our country and make us who we are as a nation.


In summary, contact your donors and seek their support.

Donors typically don’t wake up and think, “I haven’t heard from abc nonprofit in a while. I think I will call them and give them money.”

No. You have to help donors with their gift.

For one, you guide them in the process by making them feel valued and appreciated and inviting them to give.

Many nonprofit organizations will not survive the virus crisis or meet their full potential. There is certainly one reason – leaders are not stepping up.

Money must be raised for your nonprofit.

You can do this. Here's what's working with fundraising right now.

For those pushing through this crisis and calling on donors for help, congratulations!  Thank you for your commitment to survive and thrive and for making a difference in your community and in someone’s life.

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides executive and development directors with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at nancy@nancyrieves.com.


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