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Retreat 2017: The Leadership Challenge

August 15, 2017

On July 28-29, the Association of Fundraising Professionals held its annual Canadian Leadership Retreat in Ottawa (see pictures from the event below). The topic for this year was "The Leadership Challenge" and as always, discussion was spirited and the atmosphere energetic, generating many new ideas for the coming year.

Brainstorming and idea sharing is a focus for this retreat, and here are a few of the outcomes of the round table discussions. Also, you may recognize a few of the faces from these photos taken throughout the weekend.

What are the primary leadership gap issues for fundraisers?

  • Lack of understanding of fundraisers
  • Lack of resources
  • No clear leadership path
  • Lack of training and development
  • Fundraising tenure is very transient
  • Gender balance
  • Lack of diversity and inclusion
  • Organizations perpetuates the leadership gap because they don’t have the resources
  • Hiring stage
  • No planned mentorship program 

As a leader observing your team, what should emerging leaders be doing to build their leadership skills?  What is their responsibility?

  • Be vocal, speak up your role
  • Have your own personal development plan
  • Move laterally within an organization, which can be a good thing to do
  • Decide where you want to be and what role
  • Make use of leadership assessment tools
  • Conduct “stay” interviews
  • Seek out leadership opportunities

What should leaders be doing to help emerging leaders groom their leadership skills?  What is the leader’s responsibility? 

  • Help emerging leaders identify core competencies
  • Give them the room to practice those skills
  • Identify body of knowledge to be a leader
  • Provide professional development opportunities
  • Cross functional job shadowing
  • Help your senior team find coaches
  • Meaningful annual reviews
  • Appropriate compensation
  • Be willing to be a mentor
  • Role model
  • Work-life Balance
  • Give emerging leaders projects to work on

AFP will be taking these ideas and using them to develop new strategies for addressing the leadership gap in Canada and across North America.

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