10 Steps to Professional Success
A solid plan will help you thrive in your new position as a fundraising executive.September 2011 By Duke Haddad
Congratulations on your new executive position. By now, you have met the CEO, board members, key senior management, top volunteers … and possibly several other stakeholders.
The hiring process might have seemed like it would never end. But you survived and now you must thrive. You now have to determine how to have a positive impact during your first 90 days on the job. It all begins with a candid conversation with your direct report. You need to know the expectations of your boss so there are no missteps. The results of ongoing conversations should be documented for continual reference.
As you learn the ways of your new boss, find out his or her personality, communication style, background and history; who he or she depends on in senior management; who his or her executive assistant is; and how to best engage him or her in private and in public. Be sure to anticipate how to be a step ahead.
To thrive in the beginning of your tenure, follow these important rules:
1. Review the history, results, culture and opportunity for success, and determine a game plan for the total development process.
2. Meet with the CEO and determine his or her comfort level with philanthropy, and determine how to use the CEO on major-gift calls and other engagement opportunities with stakeholders.
3. Use the mission statement as the guiding principle for all fundraising and in all major communication vehicles.
4. Develop an integrated plan to include elements for annual gifts, major gifts and planned gifts, then research and determine after reviewing job descriptions how the staff can fill these roles.
5. Ascertain what resources are available to move the program forward and how to lobby for additional resources while maintaining positive program perceptions.
6. Meet with key stakeholder leaders, board members and major donors for advice, counsel and guidance, and determine how these stakeholders will fit in the new organizational plan.
7. Meet privately with each senior management professional, and determine how to use each leader in philanthropy, especially internally, with special emphasis on the CFO.
8. Make regular presentations at meetings of staff and volunteers, and ask these staff leaders to speak publicly, support and reinforce messages.
9. With key directors and managers, present a showcase of their operational programs at service club meetings to spread the word and promote major funding priorities.