Are You an Entrepreneurial Leader?

Man resting on his back with bill all around him.What Does Money Have to Do with Nonprofit Entrepreneurial Leadership?  

Less than you think.
But, still a lot.
Money is a tool. You need money to buy resources to support and further your entrepreneurial efforts.
Creating change is not free. If you’re an entrepreneurial leader, you need more resources than leaders satisfied with the status quo.

Money is Also an Outcome of Nonprofit Entrepreneurial Leadership

Revenue growth results from entrepreneurial leadership. Sometimes your income improvement is direct: you sell a new product or service. Sometimes it’s indirect: your initiative makes you more significant to donors, foundations, and corporations.
However, here’s where money is less important than you think of entrepreneurial leadership: Money is a means to an end. And what is that end? Mission results.
The entrepreneurial nonprofit leader recognizes that all growth involves money. It’s a necessary part of the calculation, like the multiplication and addition sign in an equation.

More Than Money. What Else Do Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leaders Need?

While money is never not part of the equation, money’s never enough for the entrepreneurial leader. Besides the cash, entrepreneurial leaders recognize that they need a vision and a community of supporters.
On vision, fellow consultant, and co-presenter on an Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leadership event held recently. Gail Bower writes, “Your vision generates the passion that fuels you and your team. When you have a clear vision of your preferred future, you are also clear about uncertainty, your mission impact, and the value your organization delivers. Vision becomes the cornerstone for your programs and initiatives, the nature of your business model, which brings money and growth.”

“Attracting and retaining a generous community of supporters requires an innovative strategy, and most of all, it requires a shift in thinking,” said Kathy Kingston, another co-presenter. “Would it surprise you to know that your fundraising auctions and benefit events are an untapped, golden opportunity to connect your supporters meaningfully and deeply to what they love and care about most-by showing them how their gifts will positively impact the cause that impassions them?”

Three Recommendations on What to Buy to Support Your Entrepreneurial Leadership

We’ve been flying in high orbit. Now, let’s switch to the nitty-gritty ground level. With the money you invest, and the money you grow, what are three critical services to buy to improve your entrepreneurial leadership? Here are my recommendations:

  1. Help to Get Stuff Done. Buy help with tasks you don’t like, don’t know how to do, and jobs you’re not good at–but still must be done.
  2. Time to Think. Transform time getting stuff done into thinking time and serious conversations. For example, hire someone to take the phones for 90-minutes to allow your staff time to engage in a meaningful discussion about what blocks your growth initiatives.
  3. Expertise. Now, as an expert in sustainable growth initiatives, you may think this recommendation is self-serving. What you don’t see is the experts like Kathy, Gail, and I, foundation heads, and other nonprofit experts banging their heads against walls when they look at CEOs doing things the hard way. This need for expertise is especially painful when recognizing for a modest investment you’d be above the hurdle and onward and upward. Kathy, Gail, and I drink this “getting expert help Kool-Aid.” We invest in expertise regularly—it’s how we met—at a convention of the world’s best consultants.

Want to know more about entrepreneurial nonprofit leadership? Please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help you to lead your organization with an entrepreneurial mindset.

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit  CEO Library.

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Author
Karen Eber Davis

Before founding her firm, Karen Eber Davis developed the Sarasota County Community Development Block Grant Program. Under her leadership, this infant program received the National Association of Counties National Affordable Housing Award for the Down Payment Assistance Program. To date, the program helped over 1,800 families realize their dreams of homeownership. She also worked with the City of Ft. Lauderdale and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, where she developed the division’s first audit program. In an earlier position at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tampa, she organized senior, youth, and children groups plus family activities. Her youth staffing work with the Florida Synod of the Lutheran Church in America supported youth ministries in 120 congregations in Florida.