CEO and CDO Roles in Fundraising

April 18, 2023

Listen as Niermann and Cass discuss leadership roles in fundraising for small and larger nonprofits, with an emphasis on the importance of a CEO’s engagement in the process. The Board of Directors also has a role, but the importance of the CEO’s role cannot be overstated. 

Listen and learn more!

Episode Highlights:

  • Scott discusses the growth of his organization over the past few years. (1:18)
  • Scott mentions the role of Executive Leadership in fundraising and the importance of collaboration between the CEO and the fundraiser. (4:08)
  • Scott explains the Chief Development Officer’s role and how it differs from that of a CEO. (7:39)
  • Scott mentions that the fundraising manager focuses on how, by whom, and when funds are raised, whereas the fundraising leader inspires everyone in the nonprofit by focusing on why funds are raised. (11:43)
  • Scott discusses his role in leading a capital campaign to raise $7.5 million for a new 130,000-square-foot facility, and shares the project’s timeline. (12:35)
  • Jason mentions that smaller social services organizations often don’t have a CDO and instead the CEO is doing a lot of the work of a CDO. (17:51)
  • Jason explains that managers can only do so much with manpower and that if they don’t have enough manpower, they must focus on the things that add the most value. (20:10)
  • Scott mentions that the next episode will discuss why a CEO should be involved in fundraising, how they can learn to fundraise, and how you can collaborate with them. (21:33)

Key Quotes:

  • “What I have found is that there’s oftentimes not a consensus in any given community on the role of Executive Leadership and fundraising or the role of an organizational CEO, as compared to that of your hired fundraiser or lead fundraiser.” – Scott Niermann
  • “The fundraising manager concentrates on how funds are being raised, by whom, and by when. The fundraising leader, in contrast, inspires everyone in the nonprofit, focusing on why the funds are being raised, and what could be next if fundraising could increase to meet an expanding vision.” – Scott Niermann
  • “We can’t understand certain things that happen in our life unless we experience them. But one of the ways that we can get the closest is by listening to podcasts like this.” – Jason Cass

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