How Senior Sage Leaders Lead

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The difference in the corporate world is that you can direct changes that need to be made if you have the authority. In the nonprofit world, you must show volunteers that you know what you are talking about and convince them of changes that need to be made. Otherwise it just won’t happen. Senior Sage Leader

Themes

The 50 senior sage leaders say they most help their favored civic organizations in five key ways. Like their emerging sage colleagues, they provide leadership and specialized expertise. They also facilitate teamwork, enhance communication, and provide financial treasure.

Senior sages report they most help through their personal leadership. Often this involves bringing vision and providing sage advice to the nonprofit boards on which they serve, developing trust, reminding other board members what is needed to be effective, helping the board to work as one, and being able to plan effectively and focus on what to do next. It also has to do with the ability to attract a highly diverse and talented group of leaders onto the board, nurturing the executive director, listening to people and staying tuned to their motivations, and thanking volunteers. Two senior sages describe their leadership role this way:

Early on I was approached to lead fund development and found that a different approach was needed. It was important to have all of our business sponsorships for the coming year committed by the end of November. We had never done this before. We obtained a pledge from businesses before the year started and received commitments up to $600,000. Another effective thing we did was to establish a committee on stewardship, and a well-known consultant led a workshop that helped us with this concept. We learned that long-term relationship-building is the way to create and sustain a sound fund development program, and that acknowledging and recognizing major donors are key.

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