Category Archives: Leadership


Aug

25

2011

Musings On Leadership in an Increasingly Artless Age

 Post by Francie Nelson, Francie Nelson Associates Leadership is the great issue of the latter 20th-early 21st centuries and addressing it is growing increasingly difficult – recognizing it, cultivating it, and – ultimately – realizing its potential without compromise.  The dearth of leaders, real leaders, in organizations great and small today is frightening, and the dearth of recognition and reward for leadership qualities is also pretty scary.  America’s cultural devaluation of leaders and leadership is, to me, a real and growing anxiety. I guess we have to go all Freudian or Jungian or whatever-ian here and note the changes in…

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Aug

18

2011

Constituency: They May be Sitting Right in Front of You

 Post by James V. Toscano As part of a group organizing a development office for The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra years ago, I ran a number of mailing lists by the committee. Certainly all agreed that season ticket holders were clearly a prime constituency.  When we got to the single ticket buyer list, derisive comments emanated from staff about a “dog list.” “If they can’t even afford season tickets, they’re nowhere near giving us money” went up the dismissive cry. “Wait a minute.” chimed in the volunteer fundraising consultant, “Who’s to say that not buying a season ticket disqualifies them?…

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Aug

17

2011
Reposted from New Voices In Philanthropy

Reposted from New Voices In Philanthropy

Time to Reap and a Time to Sow  Post by Trista Harris The last 6 months have been a whirlwind. I have had the opportunity to meet amazing young professionals across the country as I have been touring for “How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar“, the book was nominated for a  Terry McAdam Book Award, which has brought new visibility and years of relationship building on behalf of Headwaters has led to new collaborations and enhanced resources to do our work. I am really excited about all of this wonderful things that are happening but when I had a second to…

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Aug

16

2011
The Golden Opportunity

The Golden Opportunity

 Post by James V. Toscano As someone about to retire from his current position, I was intrigued to see the third Daring to Lead report and its significant findings, somewhat changed from the last two reports in this decade. As reported by my friends at MAP for Nonprofts, there were three key findings in the latest version: “Though slowed by the recession, projected rates of executive turnover remain high and many boards of directors are under-prepared to select and support new leaders.”  “The recession has amplified the chronic financial instability of many organizations, causing heightened anxiety and increased frustration with unsustainable financial models.” “Despite the profound challenges of the role, nonprofit executives remain energized and resolved.”


Aug

11

2011

Guest Blog Post – Change is Inevitable

 Post by James Faghmous Coming from a technology background, my early experience as a nonprofit executive has been akin to a Lewis Carol adventure: “curiouser and curiouser!” I have been surprised by the time one is expected to spend fundraising, networking and grant reporting. Certainly these activities are useful, but with moderation. How can we be competitive when we spend thousands of hours chasing funds (fundraising, grant research, grant writing, grant interviewing, grant reporting) for a fraction of what for-profit organizations raise in a single round of venture capital investment at 1/10th the time. This is simply unsustainable. Change is,…

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Aug

01

2011
Transforming an Organization

Transforming an Organization

 Post by Jonathan Palmer, Executive Director, Halle Q. Brown Community Center One of my favorite quotes is by Indira Gandhi, who said her grandfather told her there were two kinds of people in this world: those who do the work and those who take the credit.  He told her to be in the first group because there was less competition. Words to live by in my opinion. When you run a nonprofit organization, the “do the work” part goes without saying. And if you love the work, if it is a mission and a calling rather than just a paycheck,…

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Jul

19

2011
To Give…And Receive

To Give…And Receive

  Post by James V. Toscano When I was a young…and presumptuous….development officer, I remember saying such smart alec, cynical things about donors as“They say they don’t want to be thanked for their donation, but just forget to send them a letter.”Or “Just leave their name off the annual report, or misspell it, and you’ll see!” I was really on to something, only backwards! Development is not a one-way relationship. It is an exchange. An exchange of values. It is always two-way. Marketing expert, Armand Lauffer says, “Exchange is a process whereby individuals and/or organizations associate in order to achieve shared or complementary objectives.” In development, exchange…

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Jun

29

2011
The Leadership Dilemma

The Leadership Dilemma

 Post by Dania Toscano Miwa One of the things I’ve noted in my time in the Nonprofit sector is NOT the lack of leadership, but the lack of effective leadership: leaders who trust their staff implicitly with responsibilities and skills for which they were hired.  Often, the President/CEO/Executive Director who lacks this trust and interferes in the work of subordinates is not as well positioned to perform these very tasks, thus sub-optimizing the overall effort. I often hear my 20’s and 30’s something peers complaining of being stifled in their careers,  not being encouraged to build their skill sets to…

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Jun

26

2011
The Courage of the Lead Gift

The Courage of the Lead Gift

  Post by James  V. Toscano There’s a special breed of donor, possessing courage, commitment and vision, who is capable of a lead gift in a major campaign. Most donors are not. Often when asked for a major gift, the prospect responds with a question: “Who else has given?” It’s a logical request from the prospect’s point of view. There’s a cascade of implicit questions behind the one we’re asked. Who among her/his peers is leading this campaign? Who else thinks that this is such a good idea that they’re putting good money into it? How many others are on this…

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Jun

26

2011

Welcome to the Good Counsel Blog

This blog is meant to be a resource for people working in the Nonprofit sector, with an emphasis on those working in resource development. James V. Toscano and Dania Toscano Miwa, Principals of Toscano Advisors, are the two main authors of this blog. In addition, there will be a number of guest posts from other experienced nonprofit fundraisers and opinion leaders in the sector. Comments always welcome and encouraged.



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