Friday, February 1, 2013

What Really Needs the Greatest Improvement? Not Fundraising!

The executive summary of the ECFA 2012 Governance Survey was published last month and so boardrooms have been buzzing about the governance trends and benchmarks from 1,600 CEOs, board chairs and board members of ECFA accredited organizations. (Click here for a complimentary PDF of the 48-page report or to order a printed copy.)

One of ten highlights noted in the report was the response to this question: “Of the [10] organizational areas listed below, what are the Top 5 areas that NEED THE GREATEST IMPROVEMENT in your ministry?”

Board members listed the Top 5 in this order (greatest need first): 
   •  Need #1: Fundraising
   •  Need #2: Strategic Planning
   •  Need #3: Marketing & Public Relations
   •  Need #4: Achieving Mission Results
   •  Need #5: Human Resources

CEOs, board chairs and board members all agreed that fundraising was the #1 area needing the greatest improvement. “Governance” was listed as Need #8 by board chairs and board members and as Need #7 by CEOs. Where would your board members rank governance?

In her thoughtful blog, Generous Matters, Rebekah Basinger, board and development consultant and co-author of Growing Givers’ Hearts, commented on the ECFA survey results—challenging CEOs and boards to think differently about the area needing greatest improvement. 

In a January blog, “Nonprofit Leader, Fundraising Isn’t Your Board’s Problem,” Basinger writes, “At the end of the day (or the fiscal year), legitimacy is the most precious gift the board—corporately and as individuals—can give. Committing to good governance is the most important work of the board. It’s every organization’s single greatest need.
 “So nonprofit leader, 
fundraising isn’t your board’s problem. 
You are, 
by continuing to act as though fundraising is.”

She adds, “If you put good governance first, fundraising and money won’t be problems in the long-term.” (Click here to read the full blog.)

I agree with her and I’ll add my own color commentary to the survey results during the ECFA webinar with Cameron Doolittle on Feb. 12, 2013, “Results of the 2nd Annual ECFA 2012 Governance Survey.” Register here.

QUESTION: What are the Top 5 areas that need the greatest improvement in your ministry? 

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