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The Development Evangelist by Jerry Grimes, CFRE

Posts Tagged 'Leadership'

We are pleased to present below all posts tagged with 'Leadership'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

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How To Fail At Major Gifts


You may have read your fair share of blogs, articles and even books on how to successfully raise major gift funds. I'm writing you today on just the opposite—this is a blog about how to fail. Usually posts give you two or three “steps to success”. But, since I'm telling you how to fail, I don't have a list like that. In fact, I have only one main tip to share. The truth is, from our years of experience working with hundreds of nonprofits, we've discovered that there is only one sure fire way to screw up major gifts. Sure Fire Way To Fail Are you ready for it? It's really simple. And, what I am about to say may be easily overlooked. But, put this tip into practice, and I guarantee your major gift program will crash and burn spectacularly. Stay in the office. That's it. That's my formula for un-success in major gift fundraising. Ta da! Yes, all you really need to do to be a washed up, miserable failure at raising four, five and six figure gifts from your donors is to stay put, stay in and don't get out t ...

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My Excitement to Work with Christian Nonprofits


Do you wake up every morning with a specific, God-given vision for your ministry?

As a life-long follower of Jesus, my goal each day is to help Christian ministries and nonprofits, like yours, fulfill their vision. I would love to take part in helping you grow more income for your ministry that will allow you to reach more people for the Gospel.

If you’ve watched this video and would like to talk more about how we can work together to achieve your goals, please give me a call at (972) 304-1100 or send me an email here. It would be my pleasure to discuss these opportunities with you.

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Thanking Your Way to Higher Income


Imagine you and I are good friends. One day I call asking you to drive across town during rush hour, pick me up and take me to the airport, which is about 30 miles away. You don’t really want to, but we are friends, so you come. When I get in the car, I talk only about myself. I never once ask you about your family, your job or your life. Then, as I am leaving, I ask you for $10 to buy a sandwich. You grab your wallet and hand me $20. I offer a quick “thanks, man” and walk away. How Do You Feel? Driving away you probably don’t feel very good about me. How are you going to respond next time I ask for help? I’m pretty sure that if I actually treated a friend like that, my next call would go to straight to voicemail. Our Donors Sadly, this is often how we treat our donors. And we wonder why 40-60% of them leave after making just one gift. If you could get your donors to make a second, third or fourth gift, you’d raise more money. It’s simple—keep more, raise more. But how? Making donors feel appreciated ...

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Lessons from Restaurant Impossible Chef Robert Irvine


I’m kind of a Food Network junkie. I know, it’s not very intellectual or macho of me. However, watching teams battle it out in competition or seeing Ina Garten’s deft hand with “really good” ingredients helps me relax! One of my favorite shows, “Restaurant Impossible,” features Chef Robert Irvine. He’s a drill sergeant and a shock therapist in one giant, British package. The things this man has said while in the face of dysfunctional restaurant owners will make you cringe. But in the end, his confrontational style wins the day. After Chef Robert has finished yelling, insulting and sometimes wielding a sledgehammer, the restaurateur is forced to wake up and smell the crème brulee. They are forced to change, opening up new vistas full of limited choice menus and higher profits. Star-Struck Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I queued up for a latte at an airport Starbucks and spotted the celebrity chef himself standing in front of me. A brief but nice fan-to-star chat ensued leading to a shameless se ...

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There’s Only One Problem with Your Strategic Plan


You spent weeks, maybe even months, developing your latest strategic plan. It required meetings, retreats, discussions, research and endless analysis. You argued tooth and nail over just the right phrasing as you carefully wordsmithed the document. And now copies of your plan are freshly filed in everyone’s top right desk drawer. The Problem It probably won’t get implemented. You see, most strategic plans, even the ones that cost big dollars to generate, never impact the world outside the meeting room. They live for one bright, shiny moment and everyone breathes a sigh of relief before going back to their harried existence in the real world. Follow Through Why do so many strategic plans die an instant death? They are never backed up by a detailed action plan. Teams are often exhausted from the creative energy required to birth a new strategic vision. They are generally under-counseled on the importance of following through with the task. Follow through only occurs after they have tied the n ...

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Top Dogs Raise More Money with Less Barking


You’ve worked hard to get where you are as a ministry leader. People just like you sit behind the desks of businesses, foundations and corporations around your community. They’ve worked hard to ascend the ladder of success, too. That’s why so many of them are less than impressed with your organization when they never see your face, shake your hand or even talk to you on the phone. Leaders who avoid fundraising–especially those who place the responsibility of major donor cultivation on someone else are missing the boat. You are “top dog” at your ministry. Most of your donors are “top dogs” too and they want to know you care about them and appreciate their support. Executive Directors, Presidents and General Managers need to find a way to rearrange their schedules to make major gift cultivation a priority. There is a direct correlation between time spent with major donors and meeting or exceeding fundraising goals. In one study of 140 organizations, all of those who met their goals had leaders who spent at ...

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Is Strategic Planning Dead?


What do you do when you need a new vision, and you need it—NOW? That’s the dilemma faced by Children at Heart Ministries, a 64 year-old child and family care organization made up of Texas Baptist Children’s Home, STARRY, Gracewood and Miracle Farm. The four ministries are part of a larger family that includes the Children at Heart Foundation, Children at Heart Ministries and Children At Heart Family Services. It’s a complicated structure that made strategic planning difficult, but all the more needed. In a climate where many business know-it-alls scrap mission statements, vision casting and other elements of basic strategic planning, Children at Heart proved some of the old basics of the process still apply. And, many of these principles are elastic. They can be adjusted to meet various situations, even a shorter time frame. "This process has completely reinvigorated our boards, staff and leadership," said Dawson Clark, COO of the Children at Heart Foundation. The approach and lessons learned ...

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The Hidden Cost of Not Setting Goals


Are you aware that everything you do has a time price tag? It’s true. Each meeting, phone call, report, project or email generates an opportunity cost. When you say “yes” to any activity, you are also saying “no” to something else. What if some of the projects, connections and tasks you didn’t do were the very things that could have propelled your mission forward? Chances are, planning is one of the victims lying on the cutting room floor of opportunity cost. Case in Point: LSRDO Study Advocace recently released The Listener Supported Radio Development Outlook—a study of 160+ radio stations across the country whose survival depends on raising funds from donors. One of its key findings? There is a direct correlation between a failure to plan by not setting goals and a failure to succeed in fundraising. Stations whose fundraising program is essentially “do what we did last year” fail to make budgets and survive, for now, by cutting expenses. Conversely, those who set goals and create a plan grow and expand ...

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Five Critical Questions For Leaders


Jesus asks great questions.  To the woman about to be stoned, he asked "Where are your accusers?"  To Simon Peter, a noted questioner in his own right, Jesus asked "Who do you say that I am?"  and to His disciples,  in a number of ways, "Do you not yet understand?"  

Good leaders also ask great questions because questions can make people think.  They can bring clarity to almost any issue. They can isolate the truth or a gap in knowledge faster than just about anything else.   That's why a good leader asks himself plenty of questions, especially before deciding what to do about anything truly important.  

By my count, there are five critical questions a leader must ask himself or herself, pretty much on an on-going basis:

#1 What Is My Vision?

Famously, scripture says "Where there is no vision, the people perish," Proverbs 29:18.  Mission, vision and values are all easily confused.  For clarity, values are who you are, a mission is what you do and a vision is why you do it.  Your organization is headed somewhere, even if you aren't sure of the destination.  As a leader, your job is to steer the ship in a particular direction, toward a certain shore, in favor of a given destination.  Without this, people lose sight of why they do what they do.  When that happens they become disillusioned, unmotivated and hopeless.  Your vision is the only thing that will attract new followers, like volunteers and donors, to your cause. For that reason you should always be trying to hone your vision, to learn how to more clearly articulate it and how to keep make it as bold and inspiring as possible.  Its been said that people give to people, but based on experience, I would say people give to people...with vision. 

#2 Is My Organization Sustainable?

Competent managers are often promoted to lead organizations.  They often fail because management and leadership are very different.  Leaders should not be focused on the day-to-day running of their organizations.  If they are, that is all they will get done.  Leaders must have an advancement agenda. They must be about promoting their vision, as well as the relationships and strategies that will advance their organization by attracting more followers, more volunteers, more friends in the community and of course, more donors.  This presupposes that the organization is stable and that the leader's daily output is not needed to keep it going.  If that is the case, the leader's first task it to replace himself in the structure of the organization so he is free to lead.  Sadly, many leaders never get out of survival mode to a place where sustainability is a given, and true leadership can take the organization to a new level.

#3 How Can I Make Others Successful?

God's economy is very different.  Jesus made it clear, to lead in a Christian organization, one must serve.  For leaders, this translates to developing those around them, helping them grow and become more and more successful at what they do.  Leaders do this by defining outcomes, setting goals, and making sure the organization has the resources it needs to grow.  Great leaders develop more great leaders. Sharing knowledge, giving opportunity, taking risks with people and allowing them to fail and learn from their mistakes.  They model servant leadership causing its pragmatic ideals to be replicated both inside the organization and all around its sphere of influence.

#4 What Must Change?

It's trite, but so true..."Change is the only thing you can ever count on."  Leaders cannot fear change, they must thrive on it. Leadership built on faith in God as provider gives us boldness and assurance to make the most radical changes confidently.  Leaders do not bend the mission and certainly not the vision of the organization around obstacles, even if they come in human form.  There is balance between compassion, patience and long suffering with individuals and taking an organization where you know it should go as a leader.  Some people believe you can never fire anyone in ministry.  Nothing could be further than the truth.  "Hire slowly and fire swiftly" is the best advice a leader can heed.  There is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3).  Leaders often have to winnow through their resources, separating wheat from the chaff.  It is also in the leaders calling to separate the sheep from the goats. Never be afraid to change something, as long as it contributes to your mission, is in line with your values and helps propel you toward your vision.  

#5 Am I Listening To God?

"Never let them see you sweat" is a motto best suited for antiperspirant commercials; it has no real place in leadership.  Far from it, sometimes the best thing a leader can do is let people see how totally dependent on God they really are.  This dependence must include a daily walk that is fueled by prayer and time in the scriptures.  Jesus modeled this while on earth, often withdrawing from crowds and even his own disciples to commune with the Father.  Look how many leaders in the Old Testament failed because they stopped listening to God.  Saul comes to mind.  Ground yourself in the word and let God show you the next steps to take.  You will never be disappointed, and more importantly, you will never be disappointing to those in your organization.

What do you think? Are there other critical questions a leader should ask? Email me at Jerry.Grimes@Advocace.com and let me know your thoughts. 

  1. Re: 7 Ways to Retain More Donors

    Great stuff! So good to see you link donors with the work. Remember how Paul linked the supporting folks...

    -- Jamie

  2. Re: Fundraising's Duh Factor: Keep more donors, raise more money

    Great read, I can appreciate the small things that keep the donor engaged.

    -- LaTanya

  3. Re: The Lapsed, Declined & The Disengaged

    Thanks Jerry. Organizations can also engage a credit card processing provider who enables donors to make...

    -- MKordic

  4. Re: Asking Naturally: Replacing Fear With Faith

    Thanks for the great post, Jerry--full of biblical truth! We join the Lord in His work through ministry...

    -- Will Stevens

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About Jerry

I’ve been involved in the media for over 30 years with experience that spans television, radio and print. But my growing passion over the past decade has become development for non-profit organizations.

I love being a special friend and advisor to dozens of ministry leaders and radio station managers across the country. (I believe Christian radio has only just begun to reach its full potential.)Many non-profit organizations are functioning at a level far below what they could achieve if development were given its proper place in the management process.

My skill set includes development, marketing, strategic planning and leadership development as a certified Ministry Coach..

Before joining Advocace, I served as a development consultant for another firm, and as General Manager for one of the top Christian music stations in the country, and as Donor Marketing Director for WAY-FM Media Group. I also enjoyed raising funds as Director of Development for the University Of South Carolina School Of Law, as well as an active speaker, writer and facilitator.

You can find out more about how I help non-profit organizations and how to contact me here.

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog,