Aperio Guide: Fundraiser-Executive Partnership

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One crucial ingredient in successful relationship-based fundraising is executives’ time—one of the scarcest resources any nonprofit has. Philanthropists, business leaders, and foundation decision-makers expect to interact with top leadership. It’s also critical for the nonprofit that each of those interactions be strategic and purposeful, so additional time is required for preparation.

The challenge is that nonprofit executives—CEOs, Executive Directors, CDOs, Directors of Development—are pulled in many directions. There’s always an urgent need to meet, a fire to put out, an event to lead.

Donor relationships become the piece of fundraising that continually slips to the bottom of the to-do list. Thoughtful preparation for interactions, even lower.

The solution? Partnership between the executive and fundraising staff to “plan the work” (map out next steps to move forward relationships and asks) and “work the plan” (take those planned steps).

How to use this guide:

  • If you’re a fundraiser, use this Aperio Guide as a framework for partnering with your leadership. Take the lead on setting up the meetings, prioritizing opportunities, preparing the materials, and keeping track of next steps.

  • If you’re an executive, use this Aperio Guide to communicate to fundraisers what effective “managing up” looks like. Share your dedication to participating in donor relationships forward, as well as any personal preferences your team should be aware of as they work with you on this effort.


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