Last week seemed a particularly bad week in the headlines. So, I asked the question Is Fundraising Going Down for the Third Time?
There is no doubt that we live in changing and even challenging times. However, we live with change every day! Sometimes change is welcome (even hoped for, such as a promotion) and sometimes not.
I have been reading, speaking, and thinking about leading through change and crisis ever since meeting Barbara Trautlein, Ph.D., author of Change Intelligence, at the PA Association of Nonprofits conference three years ago. I’ll be talking about change again at the AFP Capital Conference being held in Lancaster PA on October 1, 2019.
Before I offer a few tips about leading through change I wanted to say, harbor hope!
Challenges come and they go. I was also reminded by fellow travelers that things are not always as they seem or there may be information to be learned that enabled me to move from thinking about gloom and doom to being hopeful. For example:
- Michael Rosen from ML Innovations noted that charitable giving was actually up in 2018. Yes, you heard that correctly, giving was up. You’ll learn more in this article which Michael penned.
- Deb Taft, CEO of Lindauer Global mentioned a 2016 Marts & Lundy study that she believes still holds true with regard to the use of incentives to promote staff retention. Deb noted that some institutions are seeing success with “thoughtful compensation incentive programs”.
- Another reader noted that donors still give because they “understand the impact of their philanthropy.”
Should you find yourself still wondering how to harbor hope I offer these thoughts about dealing with change:
- Reach out to others. Hearing from professionals who read the article reminded me that I am part of a community. We are here for a can lift up one another during difficult times. Thanks to those who responded so thoughtfully and kindly.
- Seek out the advice and counsel of those who have experienced great change, even significant crises. There is much to be learned from those who have traveled rocky roads.
- Consider learning about your own change leadership style and/or learn about resilience. If you have not read it Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a terrific book about resilience and there is a TED Talk on the same topic.
FYI I’m not saying any of this because I am expert at dealing with change or nor am I always resilient, I’m still learning. However, what I have discovered in that knowledge, time, and the support of others have proven powerful companions when navigating change or rough waters.
Finally, remember that as a fundraiser you can harbor hope and be a Harbinger of Hope for others. May these thoughts enable you to move more easily through another week.
Sophie Penney, Ph.D. is the Senior Program Coordinator and Lecturer for Penn State’s all online Graduate Certificate in Fundraising Leadership and Undergraduate Certificate in Fundraising and Advancement. Sophie hs not received any remuneration or other benefits for mentioning the above professionals or their work.