Author: Nate Vander Stelt

Over the years I've had the honor to observe numerous Executive Directors, Presidents, Principals, Senior Pastors, Vice Presidents of Advancement, and Major Gift Officers in action. I’ll admit it’s very inspiring to see men and women in these roles make bold, strategic decisions that advance their school, ministry, or local church. But I've also seen a number of poor decisions made, which makes me wonder how quickly leaders admit they've made a mistake.

So how many leaders in your organization does it take to change a light bulb?  Answer: Change - what do you mean, change?! Change does not come easily for many.  That’s true with individuals and it’s true in the leadership of many nonprofits.  While too much change certainly can do major harm, not enough change can be equally damaging.  We all learn from successes and failures.  Over the years, I’ve encountered both and have learned some lessons.  Allow me to share a few.

Frustrated with not hitting your stride in your advancement work? Wondering how to kick-start an action plan that leads to increased productivity and results? Asking some candid questions may be very helpful. But rather than ask the standard assessment tool questions that often appear on evaluations, consider asking some more penetrating questions. While working with a client recently, I was asked to do a performance evaluation of each person on the advancement team. I pulled up each person’s position description and asked them to answer five key questions. Their responses were submitted in brief written form prior to our meeting and they became a great springboard for discussion and action plans.