Co-host Julia Patrick and guest co-host LaShonda Williams respond to questions from viewers. The first question comes from a board committee in Detroit, regarding the short tenure of CEOs in their resumes. LaShonda advises not to worry about this trend and suggests that shorter CEO tenures are often due to the nature of the job, which involves making substantial changes in a short time. Instead, she emphasizes the value of diverse experiences CEOs can bring and recommends checking references during the vetting process, adding that employee fit and happiness are crucial, and how it’s essential to adapt to the changing times for the benefit of the NPO.
The second question asks about the ideal number of donors in a donor portfolio. LaShonda advises considering factors like the organization’s size, available time, and resources. She recommends creating a priority list based on gift history, interest, and capacity. In an ideal scenario, a smaller portfolio of around 60 donors is ideal, but in reality, 80 to 100 donors might be more practical.
Julia asks about major gift officers and their portfolio sizes. LaShonda adds-in that the size of the portfolio depends on the organization’s size and resources. She emphasizes the importance of manageability and quality over quantity in donor relationships.
The conversation then turns to the CEO’s role in securing major donations. LaShonda suggests involving other team members in donor visits and introducing them into the circle of potential donors. She highlights the importance of support staff in handling administrative tasks.
The final question discusses the dilemma of investing in professional development for fundraising versus programming. LaShonda advises a balanced approach, investing in both areas. She suggests maybe sending one team member to training who can then share the new knowledge with the rest of the team.
Lastly, a question came in asking about expanding donor relationships beyond the local community. LaShonda encourages organizations to look beyond geographical boundaries and adapt to changing donor preferences, emphasizing the importance of growth and expansion.