We have covered two personality types that CEOs need to be ready for as they plan and execute comprehensive capital campaigns. If you missed the first two you can read the entire series here.
The Fun-Loving Fanatics—Let’s Have a Party!
Fun-Loving Fanatics are the high-energy board members who love your organization. They also love people and the opportunities that board service provides in creating social experiences. Fun-Loving Fanatics are typically the center of attention and eager to turn any project or discussion into a playful experience. Unfortunately, these board members deplore structure and routine. While they’re the most recognizable and sociable of all board members, they also tend to live in the here and now. This means they often spread themselves too thin and are seldom where they need to be, when they need to be there.
Why It Matters
Successful campaign implementation is both art and science. The “ask” and subsequent celebration of a gift commitment requires much planning, cultivation, data analysis, and strategy beforehand. Such efforts need a sustained, methodical focus for which fun-loving types have little patience. If left unmanaged, important strategy meetings could easily be diverted (by the Fun-Loving Fanatics) toward unproductive “menu and venue” discussions about campaign parties. These board members certainly have a role to play in the campaign structure. However, it would be good for their peers to keep in mind that identifying short-term, experiential social activities play to the Fun-Loving Fanatics’ strengths.
Today’s successful campaigns require a comprehensive approach, collective commitment of the board leadership, and an organizational capacity to best harness the unique talents of all campaign volunteers. The three personality types discussed here represent those behaviors that are most often identified among board members as being potential barriers to effective campaigning. Consider your own organization’s board and how you might best leverage the stability of your Trusted Traditionalists, the ambition of your Bullish Bushwhackers, and the enthusiasm of your Fun-Loving Fanatics.
Today, CEOs must understand how to better involve their boards as they plan and begin comprehensive capital campaigns. We covered the first board personality type to understand in this post.
The Bullish Bushwhacker—Stop Planning and Just Do It Already!
Full of energy and optimism, Bullish Bushwhackers are independent, fearless risk-takers. They are action-oriented, just-do-it types who have little time for consensus building, process, or rules. As a result, they often get ahead of process and strategy. Even though peer board members will admire the energy and initiative of these go-getters, both the board and staff alike will be challenged by the Bullish Bushwhackers’ fire-ready-aim approach. These impatient board members are the most likely to exhibit rash emotional outbursts when irritated by what they perceive to be slow or indecisive behavior. In addition, comments from a Trusted Traditionalist, such as “We’ve never done this before,” will encourage a Bullish Bushwhacker to break the rules simply for the thrill of it.
Why It Matters
Leadership of any campaign begins with the board. The entire board must share the same organizational vision, case for support, campaign strategy and timing, and commitment to support the effort philanthropically. Managing those members who want to ignore the important engagement and ownership-building activities, such as case development and donor cultivation, will help ensure sound execution of the plan, greater donor involvement, and increased philanthropic investments.
Check in later this week as we wrap up our final board personality type. Looking for more resources now? Download our recent whitepaper on the new realities of comprehensive capital campaigns.
Whether they’re preparing for the next capital campaign or managing one that’s already in progress, CEOs would be well-advised to pay particular attention to board composition and group dynamics. As CEOs explore the new realities of comprehensive campaigns in the 21st century, understanding how best to nurture board involvement and engagement has become an increasingly important priority. More specifically, there are three personality types that can be found on every nonprofit board, and they cannot be ignored. Therefore, understanding these well-intentioned but potentially distracting personalities can improve the likelihood of leading more efficient, innovative, and effective capital campaigns.
The Trusted Traditionalist—This Is How We Do Things Around Here!
The Trusted Traditionalist is organized, methodical, faithful in attending board meetings, and dedicated to preserving the traditions and history of the organization. But these slow-to-change board members have particular difficulty when it comes to embracing new ideas that violate tradition. Instead, they opt to remind everyone, “This is how we do things around here.” They also tend to sit in the same chairs at every meeting. They are loyal to the same vendors. And they unknowingly champion the same old approaches to new problems while ignoring the realities of the world we live in today. Although the unknown and unplanned future can induce stress for these board members, they’re considered “trusted” traditionalists because they actually can adapt to new ideas once they’ve been provided with the proper data and can understand the practical value of making some necessary changes.
Why It Matters
New comprehensive campaigns require strategies that the Trusted Traditionalist may have difficulty embracing at first. These strategies include—
- Creating personal conversations with donors through communication to the masses
- Utilizing and leveraging all communication channels in an integrated strategy
- Deepening relationships with existing donors during the campaign
- Identifying and acquiring new donors and future leaders
- Prioritizing and segmenting donors for effective cultivation and solicitation based on data
- Positioning the organization for its next campaign