In this webinar, Marc A. Pitman will share which leadership styles help nonprofits grow (and which may be harming your nonprofit). He’ll also show how basic internal processes can significantly improve your fundraising!

Full Transcript:

Steven: All right, Marc, is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started?

Marc: Let’s do it.

Steven: All right, awesome. Well, good afternoon, everyone on the East Coast today. Good morning if you’re out on the West Coast. Thanks for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “Which Leadership Style is Best for Your Nonprofit Fundraising.” I love it. Thanks for being here. My name is Steven Shattuck, and I’m the Chief Engagement Officer over here at Bloomerang. And I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always. And just a little housekeeping before we get going here, just want to let you all know that we are recording this presentation. And we’ll be sending out the recording as well as the slides later on this afternoon.

So don’t worry. I’ll get those to you this afternoon. I promise if you get interrupted or you need to bounce out for a meeting, no worries, you’ll be able to watch the recording later on. And I would also love for you to share that with anyone you think would be interested. But most importantly, as you’re listening today, please feel free to use that chat box right there on your webinar screen. We’re going to try to save some time at the end for Q&A. So don’t be shy. I know a lot of you already chatted in. That’s awesome. We love it. If you haven’t already, do so. Tell us who you are, where you’re calling in from and fire off those questions. If you want anything explained or elaborated on, we love it. So don’t be shy, don’t sit on those hands.

I’ll also keep an eye on Twitter for comments and questions there also. And if you have any trouble hearing us through your computer speakers, we find that the audio by phone is usually a little bit better quality. So if you don’t mind calling in, if that’ll be comfortable for you, if that won’t annoy a coworker or anything, try that before you totally give up on us. There is a phone number in the email from ReadyTalk that you can use. Just check your inbox. You should have gotten one about an hour or so good today. It’s got a phone number in there for you.

If this is your first Bloomerang webinar, I just want to say an extra special welcome to all you folks. These webinars are one of our favorite thing we do here Bloomerang. We’ve been doing it almost seven years. Hard to believe. But what we are most known for over at Bloomerang is our donor management software. Bloomerang is actually a donor database for nonprofits. Quite a good one if you ask me although I’m a little impartial or try to be impartial. But check the reviews. And if you’re interested in that, check out our website. Don’t do that right now. You guys are in for a real treat. We’ve got a friend of the program, making his triumphant return to the Bloomerang webinar series. Marc A. Pitman. How’s it going, Marc? You doing okay?

Marc: Yeah, when you said triumphant return, it’s like I’m getting back in Bloomerang with clever lang. I’m doing well. Thanks. It’s really good to be back.

Steven: Oh, yeah, I feel bad we didn’t have you on last year. I won’t ever do that again I promise. I think maybe this is like your fourth or fifth webinar for us. We love it.

Marc: But we talked so much that we just assumed we had done it. So yeah, because the Storytelling Conference and all, but yeah. Awesome.

Steven: Yeah. We see each other all the time. Hopefully, you guys run into Marc either online or in person. If you don’t, you got to remedy that, follow him online, sign up for his newsletter, follow him on Twitter, go to his session at conferences. Always a crowd pleaser. It’s the day after National Bow Tie Day. And I should tell you all that Marc is a bow tie aficionado. We were going to do it yesterday but I had a scheduling conflict but we’re honorary National Bow Tie Day for me to have Marc on. Wow, where to start with Marc.

He is the author of “Ask Without Fear.” A great book. It’s here on my bookshelf. You got to pick that one up. He’s also the ED over at The Nonprofit Academy. Bookmark that website, He’s also the founder of Concord Leadership Group. He’s an Advisory Panel member over at Rogare, which is an awesome fundraising think tank and I ran out of room for all your accolades, Marc. It’s ridiculous to try to fit this all into one slide.

Marc: Don’t stop. Keep going.

Steven: But, yeah, just to get for your ego probably. But Marc is a . . . he’s just motivating guy. And his sessions are always really uplifting and also practical at the same time. So, Marc, one of my favorite topics, leadership. It’s one of your favorite topics as well. So I’m going to let you . . . I think you’re going to share your slides, share your screen with us. If you want to go ahead and click that bad boy, I will turn the floor over to you. Take it away.

Marc: All right. Well, I will pick up the floor.

Steven: Looks like it’s working.

Marc: All right. Thanks so much. Yeah, leadership is such an important topic. I’ve been a leadership nerd since . . . But I think I’ve told you but I don’t know if everybody else knows, as Pittman I never knew that this was abnormal. I had school homework because I went to school and then I had Pitman homework because I was a Pitman. So at school I would do the regular, you know, rhythmic and English and geography and all that stuff. But in Pitman, my family because I was a Pitman, I’d read goal setting books and listen to positive motivational talks and take notes on the tapes, one side of a tape each day and read Dale Carnegie and other type books like that.

So I’ve been a student of leadership for decades. And it’s fascinating to see how new this is to people because we still often get into leadership in nonprofits because we’re good at something and somebody leaves and so we’re elevated, or because we see a need and we fill it. And so much in nonprofits, in a lot of other spaces too but nonprofits in particular, there’s a lot of people that are really well intentioned and really good people skilled at certain things but aren’t trained in leadership. So I’m really glad that we’re getting to have a session of talking about how the leadership styles impact nonprofit fundraising.

We did talk about just before as we’re doing our pre-show chatting, who does the fundraising in your nonprofit? A lot people when I ask this and audiences get a little kind of give me a kind of weird puppy dog look like, “What are you talking about?” But typically in a nonprofit there’s somebody who sees a need and starts filling it. And then she realizes, she just kind of as a force of nature. She attracts all the resources and stuff to do what she’s doing. And then she decides to have a board and she becomes on the board and it’s a board of volunteers who are doing all the work. And they realize, “Man, if we could hire an executive director, they could do the fundraising.”

And it starts a succession of trying to subcontract fundraising because nobody really wants to do the fundraising, they want to fill the need. They didn’t see that when Stephen Covey would talk about when you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other end too. So they picked up the end of the stick with fulfilling the need of the mission. But they didn’t see that they’re picking up the end of the stick, which is resourcing fulfilling of that need. They have to have some sort of revenue coming in so you can do exactly what you’re doing. So then they hire an executive director but treat him like an executive assistant and try to put all their to-do’s and all of their fundraising stuff in particular on that person, but all the scheduling and everything else.

And so then that executive director is torn apart and didn’t really get into it necessarily do fundraising, she thought she was never doing other leadership stuff. So they tried to hire a director of development. And as each group tries to subcontract to the fundraising, they often don’t understand that this is a profession. This is the field. This is how nonprofits have been resourced for millennia and particularly well researched for the last 100 years or so.

So one of the reasons I asked this is who does it is because somebody had a great answer in the chat. She said, “Everybody here does. They all understand it.” When I worked at a boarding school, I wanted to have my office reprint everybody’s business cards so that everybody would say, you know, “I’m so and so, so and so history professor and development associate,” or, “Alumni relations coordinator,” or something. I wanted to have fundraising hit titles for everybody because they were preparing our alum every day in the classroom.

And everybody that if whether you’re in an animal shelter or historical society, or hospice or health care or school or educational institution or anything in between theater, everybody that interacts with people in your community is impacting the donor experience. So it would be great if everybody could see themselves as that.

But in this case, I just want you to get a face for what we’re going to go through. Because it’s so hard for leaders right now, whatever level your leadership is and whatever title. Executive director, CEO, director of development, COO, CFO, whatever your titles are is a stressful time to be in nonprofits. There’s Pew Research has shown that or estimated that 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age every day. This was published in 2010. They said it’s going to be for the next 19 years. So we still have 10 years for that to go.

I was talking in Milwaukee last week and somebody at the dinner before the event said, “Yeah, they’re reaching retirement age, but they’re not leaving.” An X-er said that. So there’s a silver tsunami of people that are . . . and they’re not leaving for good reasons or not good reasons but it’s a tough time for many of them to leave. But there’s just this reality that we have an aging leadership in the nonprofit sector, 10,000 could be leaving, that’s a huge brain drain. And the new staff that comes in, they’re not really the lifers that used to be there in the original nonprofit, when . . . when the people that started the nonprofit or people that got hired decades ago, work has changed the way we do work. We don’t have to just show up at the office or show up on site. We can do work anywhere we are.

And a lot of people entering the workforce to see how lean the nonprofits are and realize, “Hey, there’s not like a career path here. I need to jump from one nonprofit to another.” So they’re looking at gaining some level of experience or just getting a job and then trying to move on to figure out their options in their workspace. There was a study recently done by Deloitte that 43% of millennials are starting to quit their job in the next two years. And often it’s not about pay, it’s about flexibility and diversity. We’ve trained people to think about diversity at least conceptually, then they get in the workforce force and they see, “No, this isn’t diverse.”

If you look at the foundations in the nonprofit sector or the CEO, gender gap of it’s mostly white males that are still running organizations when it’s largely a female-dominated space. And we need to have more of the white men stepping back and three fingers pointing at me and more participation and leadership from women and people of different backgrounds and white guys. That’s not happening. And millennials are getting a little discouraged by that. Plus, there’s a lot more options now. Used to be if you wanted to support a cause you had to either be for profit or go to a nonprofit. And now there are B-Corps. There are ways to be social entrepreneurs. There’s all sorts of ways to do good now. So there are choices.

And then finally, it’s not just the millennials that are leaving. Compass Point did a study and it showed that 67% of executive directors wanted out in the next four or five years. And then we just saw in the last couple weeks, Chronicle of Philanthropy did a poll with Harris that indicated 51% of fundraisers want to leave in the next two years because it’s just such a relentless grind. If that weren’t enough, there’s consolidation and a lot of spaces. So regional and local chapters are moving into a more national sort of affiliation. Headquarters are trying to reengage for just standards with their chapters or their federated models and even healthcare systems and all. They’re growing and there’s more centralization going on.

The people that are moving into those new situations as we talked about aren’t getting the training, that they’re just being kind of told, “You’ve got the title. Hopefully you get a salary boost and get it done.” But there’s not a real understanding on how to be visionary. One of the studies we’ve done with the Concord Leadership Group indicated that CEOs knew that one of their top three priorities was casting a vision and compelling vision. But they didn’t know how to do it. Over 80%, they had no idea how they were supposed to do that.

And then there’s these weird and fundraising in particular for nonprofits. It’s just mind boggling change. And I think it’s because there’s still so much ignorance and ignorance isn’t a value judgment, it’s just a lack of knowledge. There’s so much ignorance about fundraising as a profession that there’s all these weird things going on with the fundraising roles.

So some I’m hearing increasingly have fundraisers that aren’t invited to the board meetings. That is crazy. You’re making strategic decisions that are going to impact the ability to communicate with donors about exciting vision and about the amount that the fundraiser has to raise and likely with some of the top supporters of your organization and you’re removing that person from any relationship or just being able to listen to the conversation that’s going on. Just crazy.

And then there’s this growing move I’ve noticed over the last few years of executive director or the CEO saying I want a COO. I want somebody that does operations. I just can’t stand the management aspect as though they didn’t realize they had to do that as the senior leader. So they try to get a chief of staff or a COO. And now all of a sudden that development function reports to this internal organization person when development is all external. And they still need the CEO to show up because nobody wants to talk to the development director exclusively, they want the air of the executive director or CEO.

Crazy turbulent times, lots of stress on leadership. So we decided to get together with Adrian Sargeant and Harriet Day and put together a leadership report. What we wanted to do is look at the different types of styles of leadership and then draw conclusions on how they impact philanthropy. We were honored to have Bloomerang be one of the first co-sponsor with Concord Leadership Group. And it was through Bloomerangs’ just networking and all that Donor Search came on and Boardable as well to make this particular report that we call “The Wakeup Call Happen.” You can get a free copy at And that link will be at the end of this training too.

Lots in here but we’re just going to take a highlight and look at the four different types of leadership that we looked at. What Adrian wanted to do, and Adrian Sargeant is one of the top researchers, we live in such a cool time to be in the nonprofit space. There’s actual academic research being done. When I get started 20 years ago, to this day, I carry a blue pen, blue ballpoint pen in my pocket because 20 years ago, somebody ran a successful multimillion dollar capital campaign and said it was because he signed letters in blue pen. And that’s how a lot of fundraising was done in the 20th century was, “I had a good experience with this. I’m going to start a company,” or, “I had a good experience with this. You should do this too,” as opposed to actually testing.

Direct mail was different. There’s testing going on there, but much of the rest of it was sort of hunches and assumptions and just kind of playing it out. Well, Adrian and a whole bunch of other people now are taking academic research and looking at studying what we do, which is just making it so much better. Because so many of our small nonprofits, we don’t have the size to be able to do the research in a way that would be have any academic integrity. So we’re really glad to partner with him. He wanted to talk about transformational leadership, charismatic leadership, and transactional leadership because each of those three have a definable academic body of knowledge and definitions that have been agreed on over the years about those.

I lobbied to have servant leadership put in there too because that also has an academic body of knowledge with definitions and examples and studies on. And I know that in the nonprofit sector, that’s going to be . . . I saw that modeled a lot. And it turns out, I’m really glad I did. Because what we did in the study was . . . or the way Adrian arranged it was nobody was asked, “Are you a transformational leader or your charismatic leader?” But what they did was because there’s research on each of these styles of leadership, he pulled together, he and Harriet pulled together behaviors that are typical of one of these four styles of leadership. And so the leaders, we have over 1,100 CEOs of nonprofits. And just an aside, I call executive directors CEOs because board members have no clue what an executive director is.

They’re the board of directors, so they think, “Well, maybe you’re one of us.” But everybody seems to have an implicit sense of CEO. When you say CEO, there’s a gravitas with that and that’s what the executive director deserves. There’s a sense of authority. And so I’ll slip off in and say CEO, even though I know most of you have titles of executive directors if you’re actually running the nonprofit, or general managers or some other titles out there.

So the 1,100 or so CEOs took this test or took the survey and they would check off different . . . on a scale I think it was one to seven how likely they were to perform different acts or different activities. And those were all weighted toward one of the styles of leadership.

But we found out with servant leadership, the way the academics have identified this is these are leaders who achieve their success by helping other people, focusing on the needs of the people that they report to, their board, and also the people that report to them, their staff and the mission that they serve. Fifty four percent of leaders identified this as their go-to leadership style or the behaviors that were associated with it. Totally understandable that more than half, but nonprofit leaders identified this way. Jeb Banner over at Boardable posited that this could be why another part of the survey shows there’s an incredible disconnect with strategic planning and also a disconnect with boards actually giving any sense of evaluation to CEOs.

That it’s just not happening in our sector in any regular way. And it could be because a misunderstanding of servant leadership could be that you’re supposed to be serving the people around you. And sometimes calling people to account can feel antithetical to that. So we don’t know that. If anybody wants to future study, that would be a good area to look at.

Transformational leadership were . . . this made my heart sing when I read about the description of this in the report because these are leaders who rally people around an organization’s mission or vision. People get committed to what they’re doing because they’re part of this mission. They’re part of the vision. Servant leadership is incredibly powerful and we need more. But that’s more of a character and heart issue. I think it’s harder to teach servant leadership than it is to teach transformational leadership.

Transformational leadership is where I’ve been doing all my leadership coaching philosophy the last 15 years. This seems much easier to teach because you can think about a mission and vision and organizational things and whether the person is humble or not, you can still have them be a transformational leader that way. But just over a third of our respondents said that this is their primary way of leading. What was interesting with this is that it’s probably the easiest to learn. So we’ll come back to that as we look at how it impacted philanthropy. There’s an interesting caveat with transformational leadership and philanthropy.

Charismatic leadership. These are the leaders who tend to lead through a force of personality. The academic body of knowledge, says the literature. These are people I have found in nonprofits, charismatic leadership happens two different ways. One is just the charismatic person that everybody believes. “I don’t know what she’s doing. Whatever she gets behind, I want to support because she’s amazing and she’s going to get great stuff done.” The other side, though, is a transformational a servant leader who experiences so much success that the board just kind of leans back and says, “You know, whatever they want to do, we’re just going to rubber stamp it because they’re amazing.”

So some of it is a character, like they’re just compelling as an individual. Some is a leader’s success leads to a charismatic leadership like style-led organization. So we’ll talk about why that’s unfortunate. Well, part of the reason that 29% of the people said that that was their leadership style and the dangerous dark side that the slide talks about is that the academic study shows that people will take risks, ill-informed and actually some negative, sometimes even illegal risks with very little questioning because they just believe in the part of the leader. So they’ll do things and they’ll just do it without actually having any sort of . . . they kind of check their brains out at the door. So that can be really bad and it can also become very egotistical for the leader self. I won’t go there longer. But some of you know who you are, some of you that are experiencing that and how the darkness that can happen there.

The last style is of the four transactional leadership. These are leaders, the academic research defines them as leaders who lead by setting goals and tying rewards to those goals. Now, of course, we all need goals and tie rewards to those. That’s how this whole thing works. But transactional leaders are much more quid pro quo. “This is your job description. Did you do it?” There seems to be a much more cut and dry and there’s not any . . . apparently, there’s no putting your job in the frame of a bigger vision or bigger mission. This is just, you come here, punch your clock, do your time, and you get a paycheck. That’s kind of what transactional leadership talks about.

Only 5% of people so that they exhibit those behaviors. And for the slides that you’ll get when at the end of the seminar, part of the reason I put this bullet point in here is that if you’re sharing this with somebody else, of course, we all need to set goals and achieve goals. But this is more at the exclusion of the servant leadership, transformational leadership, and charismatic leadership part.

Now, when we’re doing the research, Adrian and Harriet said that they wanted to look at also a fundraising climate. So they asked about leadership behaviors, they asked about then the outcomes. “How is your nonprofit doing? Are you getting the support as developing support you need? How’s your strategic planning? How’s your succession planning? How is your fundraising going? Are your budgets increasing, decreasing?” They looked at all of that.

What they found out with the fundraising climate was they tried to pull together, leadership engagement is the person involved and institutional engagement are other aspects of, you know, the board and the staff. Is their shared involvement, singular involvement, or no involvement at all? And that’s what they call a culture of philanthropy. It’s important to define your terms because culture of philanthropy is it’s one of those things that can be stretched all over the place. It can mean just about anything.

We’re going to look in just a second at the four types in the culture of philanthropy. But I just thought this was startling quote from the report. Harriet and Adrian said, “It’s particularly disappointing that there’s a widespread ignorance of the importance of donor loyalty and the role that every member of staff might play in development.”

They’ve been doing research with Rogare, with Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy with whatever Adrian is doing now. They know this, but yet again, and this research for the wakeup call, they saw, again, that just people just didn’t understand the importance of donor loyalty. There’s so much focus on getting you to as opposed to keeping the ones I already had. And there’s so much focus on the person with fundraising in the title doing the work and not understanding that everybody that gets a paycheck from a nonprofit is involved in the fundraising. They have a vested interest in a positive philanthropic environment of their organization. So let’s look at the impact on philanthropy of each of these leaders.

Servant leadership, strongest link to culture of philanthropy. When they processed all the data, the strongest culture of philanthropy organizations tied directly to servant leadership, which makes a ton of sense. Servant leaders are really good at involving people and engaging people in different aspects of work. And so when it came to fundraising, it seems to be that sort of team spirit. We’re all in this together.

Transformational leadership was linked to a strong culture of philanthropy. But I love that Adrian and Harriet dug deeper because there’s this interesting disconnect. There was a split in the people that identify with transformational leadership and how the culture of philanthropy went. And when they finally were able to figure out what the defining point was, it was the leaders’ confidence. If a leader were confident in her ability to lead, boom, strong culture of philanthropy. She was doing the fundraising and the people around her were engaging in fundraising as well. But if she wasn’t confident in her ability to lead, there wasn’t a culture of philanthropy at the nonprofit. And we’ll delve into some of the confidence issues in just a minute.

Charismatic leaders, there was definite evidence of leadership engagement in fundraising. So the leader was fundraising but had a huge challenge to get anybody else to join them. And that makes sense, too, because if it’s that sense of he can do it all, she can do it all, whatever is going to happen, they’re going to take it would translate into fundraising as well.

I was doing a feasibility study for an organization that wanted to raise $8 million. On paper had the type of people that could probably do that. It was really good on paper but as we started doing the 40 to 60 interviews for the feasibility study or the planning study, most of the people are indicating they’re going to give, you know, between $1,000 and $2,000, nowhere near what you need for the $8 million. And I would show them the chart, “This is what you need for fundraising for $8 million. These are the levels the millions of dollars and different levels and hundreds of thousands of dollars and off.” And two different points in the study each conversation I’d show that to them. And when they’d see it, they’d say, “I don’t know who’s going to do it but I believe in this leader. This leader is going to get it done. Amazing what this guy does.” And so that’s probably an example of a charismatic leadership style. You can get a lot done. You can have a lot of success but you may be doing it all by yourself.

And then finally, transactional leadership had no correlation. There was no organization with a strong culture of philanthropy correlated with transactional leadership. But the data showed that it actually correlated with decreasing budgets. Now, before we get into what should come first, the chicken or the egg, which comes first, transactional leadership or decreasing budgets? We can’t know from this study alone. It’s a snapshot study. You don’t have any trends analysis.

So two ways to look at this. We can’t say it’s causal but there’s a strong correlation, either transactional leadership kills creativity and people’s desire to do anything when it comes to fundraising. The, “Do your job, punch your clock, and get paid and don’t bug me,” that could be just killing any seed of a culture of philanthropy. Or it could be that when the budget start decreasing, leaders need to start reigning it in and seeing are we getting what we’re paying for? And are we examining all their contracts? Which totally makes sense. We don’t know which it is. But if transactional leadership sounds like your main styles leadership, it might be advantageous to look at some other aspects of leadership to add to your repertoire.

Now, I’d love to ask you, and this is a conversation you can have back with your staff, what kind of . . . well, I’ll ask this and Steven maybe you can read it because I can’t see the chat. But what’s that would you say matches your organization? Would it be servant . . . and when I’m doing this live, I’ll say your organization and then your own style.

So would you say transactional leadership, charismatic leadership, transformational leadership, or servant leadership? I try to keep it organization so it’s impersonal. Steven, [crosstalk 00:28:48].

Steven: We’ve got a wide variety.

Marc: I was going to say, I was doing this in Texas. We had some people that said, “I think I’m a servant leader but I work in a culture of transactional leadership because all the different heads of the departments were fighting over what they felt was a limited piece of the pie.” And so that was an interesting tension for her. So what are you seeing? What are the results coming in?

Steven: A lot of people are saying transformational on the organizational level. And then servants on the individual level. That seems to be the most common refrain. [inaudible 00:29:24].

Marc: Nice. Well, that’s good because that bodes well for you all because transformational is I think it’s important that we do transformational for our donors at some level because we don’t stay in the position long. If were staff, we’re still 18 to 24 months as a major gift officer or fundraiser. CEO is longer I think. But the cause will still be there long after we are. And so the more that we can do to tie the donor to the nonprofit the better. And so transformational seems far better suited for that. But it comes back to a lack of confidence or strength of confidence. I’m going to keep going. But if you want to keep typing in there, that’s fine too.

One of the interesting things to come out of this report, I’m so glad that Steven and Jay and the others at Bloomerang championed this with me was that the researchers found that organizations, the three things that led to that built up a strong culture of philanthropy were totally counterintuitive — higher quality strategic planning meant you’re significantly more likely to have a strong culture of philanthropy when it was coupled with higher quality succession planning and leaders who really felt like their development needs were being more completely met. And that’s all in the report. Some of the things that there are a lot of people being allowed to go to conferences again, which is new.

Conference’s budgets had been being cut for a while during the Great Recession. But there was a great demand or need or felt need for coaching, mentoring, that kind of, “Okay, I got a great fire hose of information but how do I put it out in my work week?” And there didn’t seem to be as much support from that from boards and CEOs. But if your organization has really good strategic planning, really good succession planning in meeting the development needs of leaders, there’s a significantly more likely to have a strong culture of philanthropy, which seems so counterintuitive to me. I think if your messages right, if your ask is right, if you’re doing the right behaviors, you’ll have a better culture of philanthropy, but it’s a lot of these internal things that actually have external impact.

What I want to look at, though, is that whole transformational leadership thing? What is this lack of confidence? And how can we help people to have a lack of confidence, maybe build it back up? In a study, only 21% of leaders had a very great degree of confidence in their leadership abilities. This is people that were all senior leaders, they’re all CEOs. And 1 out of 10 said that they had absolutely no confidence in their ability to lead at all. One out of 10. And that could be the person that’s sitting in the executive chair in your organization, whether that’s you or someone else. That’s a high number of people that are in leadership. And we already mentioned that 67% of senior leaders, CEOs are planning on leaving their position next 4 to 5 years.

I think it’s because we haven’t been given a leadership map. So if we were to look at . . . think of a grid like this, there’s two axes. There’s the confidence axis which goes from confident to unsure. And then there’s the [Q’s 00:32:42] axis which goes from external to internal. If we live most of our life on the external side, most of us aren’t really trained in leadership, we just get appointed as leaders. We start out in quadrant one in the observe stage. We’ve seen people do this. “Awesome. I’ve gotten a title. I can do this. I’ve seen my parents lead. I’ve seen my coaches lead. I’ve seen teachers lead. I’ve seen bosses lead. I know this works.” And so you start walking and you start acting like you’ve seen people act. And leadership specialists will tell you that if you’re leading people and you turn around and no one is following, you’re just out for a walk.

So that starts taking a toll on you because you’re realizing, “Wait, I said to do this just like so and so did and I’m not seeing the results that they seem to be getting.” So your confidence starts dipping, and you start wondering, “What’s broken with me?” What’s wrong with me?” And you dip into quadrant two, which is the experiment quadrant. You’re still looking externally but you’re trying to get the podcast and the webinars and the books and the seminars and the conferences and the online courses and the coaching and you’re trying to get everything to . . . you’re trying to figure out, “How do I fix what seems to be irreparably damaged in me?” First of all, maybe not irreparably, sometimes it’s just fine-tuning. But most of us spend our lives in this quadrant. Most organizations spend their time here.

I used to work for hospital and we’d go through every 18 months to 2 years, we’d go through another kind of leadership management thing. One of them I remember was fish sticks, where it was built on the Pike’s marketplace in Seattle. The guy is throwing fish. They had a whole curriculum on how to have be a team and like each other and notice when people are doing things well. And so it’s kind of like you get the balloon drop in the T-shirts in the new lingo. And then that doesn’t really get into the DNA of your organization. So you unroll another one. Maybe it’s “Raving Fans” or “One Minute Manager” or something.

For me in the experiment phase, I remember “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. I don’t know if any of you have read that. But the book jacket looks great. The cover, everything was just, “Wow, my life would have so much peace as I implement the GTD system. This will be great. I’ll get things done, and I’ll do it with the peace.” Read the book, felt totally invigorated.

What I got out of the book was you do lists, you write lists, and you write next action items beside every task on the list. And then you put these lists in files and you have a whole system of going to the list that you need or going to the file you need when you’re in the space to do that type of work. Then you can have peace because when you’re at home, you can be fully at home because you’re not living with everything in your head and your heart. It’s all on paper. And when you’re at the office, you can have the focus, the laser focus of getting stuff done.

Well, I love writing lists. I write list. Actually I write stuff after I’ve done it, like I cross it out. The list aren’t a problem, it’s the looking at it again that’s a problem for me. I’ll write the list and then I’ll put it in a drawer and forget about it. And so if you’re like that or you read another book and it says, “This is going to be perfect,” and it doesn’t work for you, and you look at the book, again, “It works for all these people but it’s not working for me. I must be totally broken.”

Well, I believe that if you feel like you’re totally broken, you may be. I mean, there could be that. But I really believe that you’re probably on the verge of greatness because you’re finally ready to listen to the other part of the Q’s axis, the internal, the part that’s kind of whispering to the hallway, sometimes screaming at you of the nudges the intuitions, the good inner voice, not the inner critic that beats you up no matter what you do.

But this is where you start analyzing. As one of my mentors used to say, “Eat the chicken, spit out the bones.” You start looking at the stuff that you studied in quadrant two and the people you fall in quadrant one and realize, “Well, what parts me?” Instead of going to the store and taking somebody else’s leadership suit and trying to fit into it. You start building your own customized leadership suit. “What’s my style? How do I do this?” And as you walk in the analyze step, you start growing back in confidence to where you’re a more focused leader. And it’s not the focus of, “Everything is perfect now,” I don’t want to go all quadrant two on you. But it’s the focus in that, you know, which quadrant you need to be in.

Sometimes you need to look to the people to who am I following because I think I strongly believe no leader is safe to lead if they can’t be a good follower. You have to be a good follower to be a good leader. You also can see what aspects do I need to . . . for my organization or for myself what do we need to learn? But you know because of the experiment stage or quadrant how you learn. Do you listen? Do you learn by reading? Do you actually get, you know, retreats for your team work well? And then you also can help figure out what’s our DNA? How does our organization operate? How do I operate as a human being? And that’s where the focus comes from of still relentless pressure, still feeling like you have to every year starts back at zero in fundraising and still feel like you have to pull the rabbit out of the hat again.

But you’re more confident because you built up a track record of what you do kind of know things that have worked for your organization and why the next idea that the board member may have for fundraising, why it may not be a good fit, and instead of just throwing up your hands or laughing at them, you might be able to say, “Well, you know, this is . . . ” You might be able to give reasons or speaking the dialect of the organization to encourage their enthusiasm for fundraising. But also tell them, “You know, big sales aren’t as . . . that’s not necessarily the best way for us to raise money for our overall operations. Let me show you what we’re doing here.” So you grow into a more focused group. But the real power is in quarter three, you analyze stuff.

So I don’t want to just say analyze stuff without sharing a quick overview of what you should be analyzing. So let’s talk about you as a person. Quadrant three is built on your hard wiring. There’s three types of hard wiring is your abilities, what you do naturally and quickly. Your behaviors, how you present to the world. So that’s often DiSC. You know, the introvert, extrovert task or people. And then I’m also started in the last 18 months working with clients. I’ve been using this for about 30 years but the motivation hardwiring, which I use the Enneagram. What are the stories you’re telling yourself to operate in the world? What what’s the story that you present a certain way but why? What motivates you to be that way?

We can also look at your identity. If you each look at your cell phone right now, it’s either Apple operating system, Android operating system, it could be Blackberry. But if you looked at your human operating system, it’s story. The research is really complete and continues to confirm that we operate by stories, even the most logical, rational people of us. When we see a dip in the economy, we want to know why. We want to know the story behind it. So there’s three different areas you can look there, you can look at your stock stories, what are the stories you regularly tell yourself? My friend Jessica Sharp of Sharp Brain Consulting talks about . . . encourages her folks to do an audit either for a day or for a few days or for a week. Just what’s the inner voice saying to you? What are you saying to yourself?

And just non-judgmental, you write it down on a piece of paper and write, you know, throughout the course of your audit? And then look at that and ask yourself this really important question, “Would you ever talk to a friend like that?” If you can’t, if you’re saying things that are more highly critical of yourself, then you’d never say to a friend or let her friend talk to them about themselves like maybe you want to become your own best friend, not necessarily believe in your press, part of the reason you’re in leadership at any level is because you’re good at pushing yourself. But there’s pushing yourself and then there’s killing the goose that’s laying the golden egg. And so taking control of our stock stories can help us to understand how are we orienting our own self.

Another way of doing identity story work is your eulogy. If you were to die, what people say about you, your family and friends, your work partners, your community, your maybe your sector, faith community, that’s if that’s important to you. And then if it’s not where you want it to be. So if you were to die today, there is an easy way to do it. What would they say today? You can start making changes as well. And then the third area is your goals. And that’s how you set goals. How you actually implement goals, saying something is you want to do something isn’t a goal and to put a date on it, but then you need to figure out the steps for it.

So goal setting, I don’t focus on that as much in this session, because there’s a lot of books written on goal setting. This works. So hopefully you can see organizationally to you can look to see no organizations that use Strengths Finder on the hardwiring, and they look to see how are we spread out with the Strengths Finder strengths and our people . . . does people seem to be in the right position. Where are the stories we’re telling about ourselves? And what are the stories we’re telling other people? And are we telling the right people our stories? Donors, definitely board, definitely.

But are we telling elected officials about what we’re doing? And are we telling the community, our neighbors and the buildings around us about the impact we’re having? And then goal setting as an organization to use gets around strategic plan. As those overlap, does it get into your personal style or organizational style if you’re working as an organization. Talk about your mission some and your values, values are so important, because we’re moving so quickly, you want to know that you’re making knee jerk or quick decisions based on the right values for sure. I think that there is a value sorter and inventory. They’re a bunch of them online that you can use to see what are your top core values, and then maybe, what are your organization’s and do they match up.

And what I love about quadrant three this way is that when you have all those two working together, it’s integrity and a true sense of the definition, because it’s all integrated. You’re working, you’re bringing your full self to work. And you’re choosing to not do things because of who you are and who your organization is not because it just doesn’t feel comfortable. You’re willing as a leader to do things that don’t feel comfortable, if it’s right for the organization. But you also know what things differentiate you from other organizations in the space.

So quadrant three leadership is a way of . . . I found to help elevate our confidence, so that we can move back if you’re that transformational leader that’s lacking confidence. Or if you’re, you know, one of those 10 that have no confidence or ability to lead, that can be a way to bring up your confidence and help you to give more cohesive answers to your board when they ask you why you’re doing things or why you’re not, or to your boss, and if you’re not the senior leader yet.

So I want to wrap this up before we go to questions and answers with . . . or at least questions. Hopefully, they’re answers. With what do we do about this? So I’m one of these four leadership. If you just know the four types of leadership that can be huge. Many of us didn’t even realize that there were behaviors tied with different types of leadership, and that sometimes we’ll have to put on that servant leadership hat or other times, you’re going to have to put on the transactional leadership hat. It’s okay to be able to know, oh, I’m choosing to be transactional right now, and or I’m choosing to be charismatic right now. And that’s as long as the conscious choice that can be a much better way. Some tools you have in your leadership toolkit, whatever level in your organization you are.

But if you’re a servant leader, that’s awesome. You have the confidence to continue your plan, because likely, you have if you’re not experiencing, you have what it takes to have a strong culture of philanthropy, so good for you.

If you’re a transformational leader, awesome, maybe do the q3 work to grow in the confidence so that you continue to have a strong . . . so you can grow a strong culture of philanthropy, that will positively impact the fundraising that your nonprofit.

If you’re a charismatic leader, that’s good. You can get a ton of things done, keep your ethics up, so you’re doing it for the right reasons. And I would encourage you to think about what would it take to shift the focus off of yourself and bring it back on to the mission and the vision, and pointing people to the mission and the vision, and connecting just like you’d want to connect the donors to the impact, connecting the people that you work with, to the mission.

And finally, if you’re a transactional leader, awesome. That’s, you know, tying goals and rewards is really important together. And if you can actually tie those into the bigger picture of a strategic plan, then you’re well on the way to engaging people just beyond just they’re punching a clock, but to seeing themselves a part of something bigger than themselves, which other studies have shown, can bring engagement up and commitment and also would move you to a more toward a transformational and servant leader as well.

So turbulent times are still happening. There’s a ton of retirements in the future. And even if not retirements, we all age out of life. And so that’s going to happen anyway. But if we look at the research, and we kind of look at ways that we can, where we’re at in our leadership journey, and looking at both sides of the map, not just the external, and then grow into ourselves or into our organization, allow our organization not have to copy every other organization out there, but allow it to be itself, then we can be much more sure about having that strong culture of philanthropy, and really confident more in our strategic planning or succession planning, and meeting the needs of our leaders as well.

Here’s where you can get the free copy of the report. Thanks to Bloomerang, Donor Search, Boardable, this is able to be offered free and there’s more training on this and even, Steven Shattuck, is a trainer in The Nonprofit Academy as well.

Steven: I love it. I love The Nonprofit Academy. You have some great speakers. When you have like 10 cancellations, that’s when he brings me on, but there’s way better people.

Marc: That is not true. Yeah, you’re a great presenter. If you haven’t, for those . . . so here’s the mutual fan club. I think Steven is an incredible leader an asset in the sector and as you heard he thinks I him too, but if you get to . . . if you’re at a conference or you go to BloomCon, definitely listen to what sessions that he teaches because his idea of segmentation and well, even his passion for stickers will help you to see things that you could do in a low cost, high yield way.

Steven: I do need a presentation on stickers. I think that’ll be excellent. One hour including questions on stickers, going to be a good one.

Marc: So for those of you who aren’t aware. If you’re not familiar with the time of this recording, just a few days before, or a day before, Steven published probably 2000 words, did you say?

Steven: Two thousand words, my magnum opus.

Marc: Two-thousand word post on the importance of stickers, and why every nonprofit needs to consider a sticker strategy even over a magnet and mug strategy, fascinating.

Steven: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:48:07] are you a big fan of the mugs and the magnets?

Marc: I really . . .

Steven: [inaudible 00:48:13].

Marc: I go in and I have a love-hate relationship with them. What I love about mugs in particular is that they stick around. What I don’t love is that they often fall apart. If they’re trying to buy them cheap, thing falls off and I can’t. I like my coffee more than I like my mug but I don’t want to wear it, you know?

Steven: Yeah, that makes sense.

Marc: So I like to have the coffee in the cup, yeah. But the stickers, you and Chris Davenport got me over through sticker [meal 00:48:35], got me over to stickers. So quadrant three stickers and all that. We’ve answered. Are their questions?

Steven: There are.

Marc: What do you guys . . . what’s on your mind as we’re talking about leadership and servant leadership?

Steven: One good question to start with I think from Kara. For those people who, Marc, that maybe don’t know their leadership style, they didn’t come into this presentation or maybe they’re not sure after hearing you. How can they find that out or are there quizzes or are there books they should read? How would you help those people kind of discover which little area they’re in?

Marc: Okay. Part of my dream since this came out is to have a BuzzFeed like quiz that would indicate. And I don’t know how to set that up. So if you do, or someone listening to this, please reach out on Twitter @marcapitman, Marc with a C, Pitman with a T. Or at for email. But I think another way to do it is to think about the different definitions of each and one, you know, do you tend to at this time in Texas, earlier this year, one person said, “I think I’m a servant leader, but I’ll know better when my employee comes here.” The employee that came with. And that employee had been out of the room and missed the questions.

So she wasn’t . . . so she just quietly came back into the room and said, “What do you think we are is this?” And she said, “Are you’re totally a servant leader?” And I thought that was really cool where a servant leader wouldn’t even necessarily call themselves a servant leader. But thinking about where your focus is as a leader, and also, I guess, Kara, look at how people respond to you. We had a leader at the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference last fall, as matter of fact, that he had thought he was transformational, and realized after hearing this that he had slipped into a charismatic role. And he was desperately trying to figure out how to cut a reengage the board so that it wasn’t just a rubber stamp board, but it was a conversation.

He thrived on pushback. I don’t know if you’ve heard this, Steven. But every executive director that has a board that is just rubber stamping seems to want one that’s engaged. And many executive directors that have engaged boards seem to want one that would just kind of lay off a little bit. It’s kind of the grass is always greener on the other side. So I don’t know. So Kara, that was a very verbose way of saying, I’m not sure there’s a test to take, it’s more of a journey to go on reading books, like “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” You can read Greenleaf’s book on “Servant Leadership,” which was really challenging and probably indicated to me the most strongly that I’m not it yet. I aspire to be a servant leader. But there’s also . . . yeah, there’s a lot of good leadership books out there. Kouzes and Posner, “The Leadership Challenge” is probably my favorite, but that’s also the transformational leadership path.

Steven: You kind of anticipated the next question, Marc. Should you involve your subordinates in this process? I mean, how much should you maybe solicit their feedback in trying to identify your style? Or maybe some other issues that maybe you have as a manager. I like your example of that person bringing in their employee [crosstalk 00:52:07].

Marc: Wasn’t that cool? And it was in a room with her peers that she said that, yeah.

Steven: Wow.

Marc: I do. Yes, you’re not in a toxic work environment. So many nonprofits are dysfunctional. So many organizations, humans are dysfunctional. So you put humans together, there’s often a lot of compounded dysfunction. But if you’re in an environment where you can do that, that’s awesome. I had one leader in quadrant three immersion. So we set aside days to work through the quadrant three space and give people space to actually do some of the planning, do some of the . . . execute on quadrant three, and so just learning about it. And one of them did this exercise of writing our goals for the year and then writing a history of the future.

What would it be like if she . . . projecting herself 12 months in the future, and looking back as if all those goals were accomplished? What would she feel like? What would she say? And she realized her staff had no idea that she wanted this department of camaraderie and collegiality and professionalism and fun, joy as well as getting work done, because she was so focused on getting the work done, that she couldn’t, she wasn’t communicating to them, that they are humans more than just tools or instruments. And so, her own work in the quadrant three aspect, let it so that she could have a different engagement with her staff.

So I think you can, but I know a lot of people that have . . . people that are gunning for their jobs. We have one colleague that a person came in and said, “I want to be in the number two in this organization.” She called the number, the CEO and the number two entity, a meeting with two of them and said, “I want that guy’s job in two years,” which lacked a lot of people skills. Sure, it wasn’t seen as a threat. It was like I’m gunning for you.

And then there are some, I will have one client who has a labor unionized force that has defined success over the last couple decades as firing the senior executive. And that’s how they justify taking fees, instead of actually creating an organization that will be sustaining for all their paychecks. They see taking out top leadership as that. So you have to know your culture. But yeah, if you’re open to that, I think it could be a really good conversation. And if it’s a hard one, you could just say maybe how does the organization operate? Hey, I was at this webinar. What do you think our organization operates like?

Steven: I love it. Here’s maybe a good question to end on from Jessica. At her organization, leadership is really seen only by the titles of people. Jessica is lower on the totem pole, but has been a strong leader in the field. And recently her position has been recognized outside of the organization. So she’s getting some good recognition outside of the organization for the good things she’s done. How does she know or get her senior leaders to also see her that way? So she’s got some good external recognition, but it’s not happening internally, which I’ve been in jobs [crosstalk 00:55:17].

Marc: So this happens all the time when . . . boards of directors will hire the top candidate, the best person for the job, and then stop listening to them. As soon as they get the executive director role, any and so that happens. And so, for you, it’s happening for you too, Jessica. One thing good for you for being in the way of other parts of the field, good for you for, whether you’re on boards, or you’re speaking at conferences, or you’re contributing in other ways that people are recognizing you. I think that’s one of the only ways to stay sane in the nonprofit sector, especially in the fundraising function. I know being on a national board helped me when I had a no contract and I gave a six week notice instead of two. So I was being really generous.

And I was told that I had 24 hours to clean out my office. I was basically getting fired even though I was handing in my resignation. And that was the day of a teleconference with the national board. And it all became triage Marc. And they’re like you’re being treated really badly. And just to have the usually fundraisers in particular are the oddballs are fundraising departments of the oddballs. Most other functions of a nonprofit, get work done by being onsite, fundraisers get work done by being offsite, so it’s just a hard management task. So being around other fundraisers, and whether it’s service organizations in your community or AFP or [YPN 00:56:39] or something is smart.

And then it’s a matter of you run the risk of being self-promotional. I know I’ve been told I was overly self-promotional with my boss, because I tell him, “Hey, look, I got this award,” or, “My book just got published, and it sold many thousand copies.” Unfortunately, some leaders don’t live by the maximum, hire smarter people than you and let them excel. Some people want to be the smartest in the room. So there’s different ways you can test. You can test out maybe if there’s, you know, who does your leaders listen to? What kind of trappings of success seem to speak to them? I know, I got newspaper articles in our local paper, because I was developing a relationship with the reporters, both for the hospital and fermion work and the hospital knew and they hired me that I was doing fundraising coach work at the time.

So I was trying to use outside norms to not only burnish my reputation in the field, so that if I ever left, I wanted a new job, I’d have some street cred, but I also wanted to do it internally. But it’s really hard, and that’s where consultants can come in and be really good or coaches that can speak to the board, and really build up your role. And it’s unfortunate that it usually has to be somebody from outside. But feel free to contact me at our off channel too, I’d love to explore that. It will be interesting to see what levers you can look at.

Steven: Hey, hang in there, Jessica. You’re doing all the right thing. So keep getting [inaudible 00:58:13] internally.

Marc: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah.

Steven: Well, we’re about out of time. And I know we didn’t get all the questions. Marc, I will send you the questions for those, the ones that we didn’t answer. Do you mind responding to those by email perhaps? Is that okay with you?

Marc: You just totally put me on the spot live in front of all these amazing people. No, I’ll be glad to do that.

Steven: Only if you said you can do it.

Marc: Yes, I’ll do it. Yeah, I’ll definitely. I’ll respond. I don’t know how helpful the response will be, but I will respond to my best.

Steven: You’ll try. Well, this was fun, right? I knew it would be. So thanks again, Marc, it was blast to have you again.

Marc: Thanks, and thanks for Bloomerang for making this report to actually see the light of the day. That’s awesome.

Steven: Oh, yeah. We love it. We love funding research. It’s one of our favorite things we do here. Not a lot of other tech companies, especially in this space do that. So I’m going to brag on myself here . . .

Marc: Yeah, no, Bloomerang, yeah, you guys are leaders in this and it’s really, and it’s not just leadership. So I know we’re out of time, but it’s not just for everybody listening, Bloomerang doesn’t just sponsor their own internal research is helpful is that maybe. They actually sponsor other people’s research, which is, again, one of the most selfless acts and one of the most helpful to the sector, because it’s not a marketing piece, it can never come across a marketing fluff piece. Even if the other ones aren’t marketing, they seem to be because they’re branded and the stuff that you guys, you’re so far, you’re awesome behind the scenes, just making some magic happen in the sector that the people won’t even know. So thank you.

Steven: We love it. And speaking of thank yous, thanks to all of you for spending an hour of your day with us. I know you’re probably pretty busy, and it’s almost year end, I can’t believe it, but I really appreciate you all hanging out with us. We’ve got a great webinar coming up next week. One of our favorites, Rachel Muir, my good buddy. You going to be talking about “Founder Syndrome.” Kind of a nice dovetail to this presentation. We didn’t plan it that way. Oh, yeah, that’s going to be a good one.

Join us next week 2:00 p.m. Eastern on the fourth, a nice way to come back from the Labor Day break for you, Americans here. But we’d love to see you again next week. So we’ll call it a day there. Look for an email from me with the recording and slides. And we’ll get Marc in touch with you as well for those of you that had questions and hopefully we’ll see you again next week. So have a good rest of your Thursday. Have a safe weekend. Those of you in Florida and on the East Coast, be careful next week. We’re thinking of you with the storm bearing down, stay safe. And hopefully we’ll talk to you again next week.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.