Thank You for Leading our Leaders – Blog Post by Dana McConnell
By Dana McConnell, Center of Development Services
What an incredible resource you are in our community in your dedication to train our nonprofit leaders! Shine the Light is making a difference in cultivating stronger and more confident leaders in the Upstate.
I’ve had the privilege of attending seven seminars so far in the past few years. Each seminar has provided exceptional guidance on topics ranging from board development and engaging those board members to examining the sustainability of the organization.
As a newly appointed Executive Director of the Center for Developmental Services back in 2014 with no prior nonprofit experience, I felt like a fish out of water. I was confident in my corporate skills, like financial reporting, mergers & acquisitions, and HR/payroll management, but board development and fundraising were foreign to me.
Through your forums I’ve learned to examine our board structure. For example, how effective are the board meetings? Are board members actively participating in those meetings, reading the meeting materials, and providing valuable feedback and guidance? If not, am I willing to make a few small changes that may re-engage their involvement?
Your seminars challenge us to look internally at our organizations. What is the culture of our team? Do my employees know, and I mean really know, our purpose and mission to the point that they don’t even have to be asked to volunteer for events or backup a co-worker in his or her absence? Does our staff respect one another and the contribution each makes to the overall goals? Are these goals shared often with our team, with open input on how to keep the organization on track with our metrics and sustainability?
And finally, your speakers encourage us to evaluate ourselves. Am I the backbone of my organization, or would our organization continue successfully even if I were suddenly unable to fulfill my role?
Delegation, motivation, and succession planning are key discussion points I hadn’t considered before. Your curriculum feeds our spirit, which in turn, help us to motivate our board members and staff.
Shine the Light has the support of the United Way, Community Foundation, Hollingsworth Funds, Graham Foundation, and the Daniel-Mickel Foundation, all key funders of the non-profit world who are yearning for systemic change. It speaks volumes that you have that kind of backing, and it highlights the importance of leadership development. Thank you Shine the Light for offering the tools we need to inspire ourselves and others to succeed. Keep up the good work!