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I am guessing that most of you either answer to a Board of some type, serve on a Board, or at minimum, work for an organization that has a Board. Those who sit “on” the Board may be called directors, members, trustees or governors. The bottom line is this – they are generally charged with providing the governance - legally, financially and ethically, for the organization to be successful. Non-profit organizations or ministries are no exception.

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.

Paul instructed Timothy to “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2). Timothy was to constantly share the word—when it was convenient and when it wasn’t. Paul challenged him to “correct, rebuke, and encourage” those whom God had placed in his care.

If you've been around development work for any amount of time, or have worked with major donors at all, you've probably asked yourself this question - maybe more than once. We have a saying at The Timothy Group (sorry, I don’t know who originated it), “A successful donor visit is when the right person asks the right person for the right amount for the right project in the right place at the right time.”

Do you remember the old Ford Motor Company slogan that stated, “Quality is Job One?” Ford sold a lot of vehicles using that promise. They persuaded car buyers to buy THEIR product, under the belief that the manufacturer had a strong commitment to producing a quality product. But this raises these and other questions: “What does quality mean?" Or, “How will I know quality when I see it?”

The Beatles tune written in the 1960’s by Paul McCartney is catchy and profound! In the 3rd stanza it goes, “And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me, Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.” Please allow me to shine a bit of light on your Advancement/Stewardship planning with this song as a backdrop.

Of the $335 Billion dollars given last year in America, around ten cents (10) of each dollar given by check or wire transfer was written by a Foundation. The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on Monday 14 April, 2014. The Article titled “Family Foundations Adopt New Mantra: Let’s Spend It All” by Veronica Dagher. A narrative about Family Foundations in America. 24% of those family foundations intend to give all of their assets away during the lifetime of the existing directors.

  If you are involved in non-profit ministry and/or fund-raising for long, you will probably hear the term “elevator pitch.” Are you familiar with it? From Wikipedia, ”an elevator pitch, elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.” (Pincus, Aileen. "The Perfect (Elevator) Pitch".)

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.