The Role of the CEO: Raising Organizational and Personal Support

By on May 1, 2007   /   Leave a comment

All of us have values; some good, some not so good. As a leader though, I can’t think of a higher value than this:

I will not require or even ask another staff person to do something that I myself am not doing.

Some call this “modeling”, and following this value builds respect, credibility, and morale. When a leader chooses to ignore this principle, arrogance and a sense of privilege can set in—eroding trust, sacrifice, and teamwork among the staff.

Maybe it’s the difference between the war general who sits back on top of the hill directing his troops versus the one down on the front line leading the battle charge. Which general would you rather serve under? In ministry, this kind of leadership and modeling is clearly revealed when it comes to the area of finances. CEO’s (or key leaders) usually choose one of four options to operate by:

1. Raising support for the organization, but not for themselves

This leader is directly involved in asking major donors for significant gifts to keep the general fund and ministry projects healthy and fully sustained. That part is fantastic, but they (or their board) have chosen not to raise their personal monthly support like the rest of the staff. Either they just draw a salary, or claim their personal support is pulled out of the major gifts they raise. But that’s different than going out from scratch and putting together 100% of their total monthly team.

2. Raising their personal support, but not for the organization

This leader is modeling what they are asking the staff to do by building a complete personal support team through face to face invites, but has abdicated their role in raising organizational funds. Even if a ministry has a development officer(s), the key leader(s) still needs to be intimately involved. Hint: Most major donors want to hand the check to the CEO. Big visions require big dollars, so step up to the plate!

3. Not raising organizational or personal support

This leader is totally detached from shouldering the financial load. Their story is that they are either too busy, that’s not their spiritual gift, or it’s someone else’s job. I would like to chat with some of their staff to see what the “R Factor” is for that leader: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

4. Raising organizational and personal support

This leader is a powerful model who is pulling up alongside each and every staff person, saying: “I’m with you. We can do this. Let’s go raise our support.” Their pacesetting is a “do as I do” rather than a “do as I say” leadership philosophy. And then they go the extra mile by working hard to instill an organizational DNA of long term financial health.

I have a radical idea. If you are a CEO or leader in your ministry, why not become a “field general” by making this commitment today?

“I will partner with the Lord to pray, plan, launch out in faith, and take full responsibility for raising the funds our ministry needs along with putting together my own monthly support team.”


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