If you haven’t already seen Curtis Chang’s Social Edge response to Daring to Lead, It’s the ED, Stupid!, I encourage you to read it.
Chang provides a thoughtful, compelling argument that executive directors should stop scapegoating the economy and under-performing boards of directors for fundraising challenges and start taking responsibility for raising enough money to sustain their organizations—beginning with a genuine interest in the actual work of fundraising. I could not agree more that fundraising is a core part of any executive’s job and EDs need to allocate sufficient time to those activities. As the report says however, there are other forces at play–namely the difficulty of “developing a sustainable business model that fully finances a nonprofit’s desired impacts and allows for strategic organizational development and growth over time.” Certainly, without fundraising enthusiasm an executive is likely to be even more daunted when faced with sustainability challenges, but fundraising will only go so far without a viable business model in place. Raising funds for an organization that is hemorrhaging money as it tries to sustain a broken business model is not likely to be successful in the long term. It might temporarily pull an organization out of an economic crisis but doubtful will it build-up a healthy operating reserve so as to avoid one in the future.
So whose job is it to develop and maintain a sustainable business model for the organization? I suspect that Chang would say, It’s the ED, Stupid! What do you think?
Check out Curtis Chang’s post here and add your perspective by commenting on this discussion.