chapter 38 Working with Your Executive Director

For many people reading this book, this chapter could be called “Working with Yourself,” because as the only paid person, the title “executive director” describes you, as does the all-encompassing title of “staff.” Nonetheless, even if you are a sole staff person, you may find this chapter helpful in avoiding mistakes once your organization is big enough to hire someone in the development role. Some organizations are lucky enough to have one or more volunteers who devote themselves to fundraising, being in essence unpaid staff. If you supervise people in this role, you will want to review this chapter. But mostly, if you are a development director working with an executive director, this chapter is about you.

As development director, the executive director can be your greatest ally or your biggest challenge, but rarely anything in between. The job of the development director is an odd one in the sense that you report to and are accountable to the executive director, yet your job includes organizing the executive director’s time efficiently with regard to fundraising—which means telling your boss what to do. To work effectively with an executive director requires discussing early on in your tenure how the executive director wants you to present the fundraising tasks that he or she is to carry out and how the executive director intends to be accountable to that work. Here’s how an ideal working relationship between an executive ...

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