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Academic research and market insights tell us that Boards and CEOs play a critical role in fundraising outcomes and impact – and that they’re also crucial to the acquisition of major gifts. For example, many recent mega gifts and multi-million-dollar campaigns in the higher education, cultural and health sectors are the result of effective advocacy or asks by CEOs or Board members, and / or feature significant gifts from Board members.
That’s because major gifts fundraising is largely relationship-based. Board members are more likely to have, or to be able to establish, the sort of peer relationships with philanthropists and high net worth individuals that can lead to major gifts. Similarly, CEOs play a crucial role in articulating their organisation’s philanthropic vision and demonstrating to prospective donors that their organisation supports the project being funded at the very highest level.
Fundamentally, increasing leadership involvement in fundraising often involves difficult conversations about responsibility, accountability, money, personal networks and skills gaps across traditional power structures and hierarchies. We’re not seeing sufficient drive among senior leaders to lead or engage in effective, transparent and compelling discussions within their organisations, supported by sufficient data on fundraising engagement at a national scale. This report seeks to support and increase the effectiveness of these discussions.