As many of you may already know, I recently was fortunate enough to participate in the incredible experience that was the 2014 Emerging Pacific Leadership Dialogue (EPLD). As part of this two week experience I travelled to two countries in the Pacific, New Caledonia and Vanuatu, and with a fabulous group of ten other individuals from varying Pacific island nations we completed a study tour of Australia.
The whole aim of the trip was to meet, experience, unearth, debate, question and learn from different leaders and leadership styles. During the trip we encountered leaders from all different walks of life; from family businesses and large multimillion dollar corporations, different cultural communities and community groups, Government departments and even Heads of State. Some of these individuals included Australia’s Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and the New Caledonian President, Cynthia Ligeard, and even, Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne.
Despite all these leaders being from so many different fields, and some probably not even seeing themselves in a leadership role per se, the messages about leadership were all very similar. And, interestingly, I could relate most of them back to the non-profit sector, and in particular, being a fundraiser. You see, I think, as a fundraiser our leadership is vital in terms of our missions, whatever they are for our respective causes. Because how can we expect to make our world a better place if we aren’t leading the way?
A leader does the right thing, not necessarily things the right way.
Sometimes difficult decisions need to be made in order to achieve the right outcome. Some people won’t be happy with the way you are doing things, but you just need to keep going. Doing the right thing unfortunately doesn’t always mean winning fans or doing things the way people expect or believe they should be done.
A leader uses their voice to make the world a better place
Speak your mind. It’s not enough to stand up for what you believe in; you need to speak up about it. As a leader you need to use your position to help those that cannot help themselves and speak for those that cannot be heard themselves.
A leader has the end in mind at all times.
Visionary leadership is all about seeing what change needs to happen and believing in yourself and your community to get there. This belief needs to be unwavering if you are to be trusted by your team. You need to stay focused on this end point and refer back to it as much as you can along the way, especially during difficult times when others may hesitate. This is especially true in non-profits. Your charity’s vision may sometimes seem so far away and impossible to achieve that you feel like giving up, however, you must not. You must lead the way by taking the small steps and celebrating small successes as you go.
A leader values the importance of partnerships.
Real successes happen when real collaboration takes place. Successful leaders understand this and work toward building and maintain partnerships with all sorts of people and organisations. The saying, ‘two heads are better than one’, really hits home here. In the world of charities, when we are all working toward securing a bigger piece of the donor pie, we need to start working smarter, not harder. We need to partner with others whenever we can for joint ventures and more effective solutions.
Leadership needs to translate from our professional lives to our entire personal lives.
Being a leader isn’t just about doing these things in your professional life. It’s about leading by example in all aspects of your life, especially within the home. As a fundraiser we must show leadership by making our own donations to causes we are inspired by, volunteering with our favourite community groups when we can and actively being a moral and good citizen.
Leadership is about inspiring others to do what they might otherwise think cannot be done. It’s about empowering them through encouragement and motivation to do what needs to be done to reach the collective goal. This is possibly one of the most important aspects of leadership in fundraising. We need to empower our team, volunteers and, of course, our donors, to do what is in their ability to achieve our mission.
So, please, don’t just think of yourself as a fundraiser. If you are doing any sort of fundraising you are a leader and you should be proud! All the best for more terrific leadership next year!
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick