What is your teachable point of view around fundraising?

This week at DonorDreams we are talking about what it looks like to be a fundraising “LEADER”. Today, we will continue our work from Tuesday and frame the issue using Noel Tichy’s ideas around creating a “teachable point of view”. The rest of the week we will examine other points of view on the subject as well as examples of good leaders.

According to Tichy, every effective leader operates with what he describes as a “teachable point of view” (TPOV), which breaks down into the following components:

  • Ideas — these are your thoughts on whatever it takes to win at whatever you are trying to accomplish
  • Values — these guiding principles anchor your pursuit
  • Emotional Energy — this is the inner strength you draw upon to fuel your pursuit
  • Edge — this is courage to advocate with the strength of your convictions . . .  it can also be a mantra that describes tough decision-making

It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO of a major multi-national corporation or a fundraising professional in a small one person shop. If you want to be a leader, you need to construct your personal TPOV for your agency’s unique situation in this universe.

If this sounds complicated, it really doesn’t have to be. For example, a long time ago I met someone who had just been named the executive director of a small non-profit organization. They were young, charismatic and willing to run through a wall for their agency’s mission. In spite of all their program experience, they had never really fundraised. Now, this person found themselves in a situation where board volunteers, who already were very reluctant about this “fundraising thing,” were looking to them for leadership to get the agency’s fundraising program on track.

After trying all sorts of things in their first few months, we came to the conclusion that they knew lots of textbook stuff about fundraising, but they didn’t have a TPOV around resource development. So, one afternoon over a cup of Starbucks coffee and a series of simple questions, we developed their TPOV around fundraising. Here are just a few of the questions I asked:

  • What do you believe in your heart and soul when it comes to resource development (RD) and fundraising?
  • What principles/values guide your interactions with donors and how you handle their charitable contributions?
  • What are some emotional statements that you want to become a “mantra” for your board members when it comes to fundraising?

Sure, there were follow-up questions and lots of fine tuning, but I think you get the idea. In the end, we integrated their answers into a TPOV diagram that looked like this:

In the end, this simple exercise provided that new executive director with something invaluable — a compass. A tool that would guide every resource development decision that they’d ever make and inform every fundraising conversation they’d ever have with a board member.

What is your teachable point of view around fundraising? Do you have one? If not, then please share some of your core ideas or values that you associate with resource development. Use the comment box below and take a minute out your day to response because you never know who your feedback will inspire.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC

About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on January 25, 2012, in Fundraising, leadership, nonprofit, resource development and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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