Quick Tips: Fundraising with Your CEO

In last week’s post, I shared some great points that I gleaned from Fund Raising Day in New York’s “Leading the Leaders: How to Motivate Your Board to Cultivate Major Gifts” session.  Today, I want to cover some quick tips that the panelists put forth on how to work with your organization’s CEO (or Executive Director) on fundraising:

When the CEO doesn’t “get” fundraising . . .

Gregory Boroff of amfar — The Foundation for AIDS Research encouraged working progressively with your CEO when he/she does not get fundraising.  For example, you could start him/her off with thank you phone calls and slowly move into deeper donor relations and engagement efforts like donor visits, active cultivation & stewardship, accompanying solicitors on face-to-face asks and finally making the face-to-face asks.

Managing expectations

Kerry Kruckel Gibbs of WNET-Thirteen stated that she is very clear with her CEO at the beginning of each year about what she expects and needs him to do in regard to fundraising, with details about the number of asks, visits, etc.  When facing resistance to meeting these expectations, she is clear about the role that charitable gifts play in the organization’s budget and why the CEO is an important part of reaching the overall fundraising goals.


In those situations where she is preparing the CEO for an ask, Ms. Gibbs will always be sure to rehearse the aforementioned ask with him/her.  Not only does this get the solicitor comfortable with the major points that should be covered and what to expect from the donor, it should provide the fundraiser with sufficient comfort that the solicitor is fully prepared.  Now, Ms. Gibbs did note that there have been some occasions where her CEO went off-script during an ask and that it was not always a bad thing, so do keep in mind that possibility.

I hope that you have found these quick tips helpful.  What other tips would you share for successfully and effectively reaching your fundraising goals through the direct efforts of your CEO?

One Reply to “Quick Tips: Fundraising with Your CEO”

  1. Great tips, Dan. Unfortunately, it no longer surprises me that many ED/ CEO’s aren’t involved in fundraising for their organizations. However, they need to be. Starting them slowly and providing them with specific tasks and to do lists is something I’ve found helpful when working with reluctant CEO’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *