Thoughts on the CEO as Chief Fundraising Officer

The roles and responsibilities of a CEO are constantly evolving and your organization must adapt and develop with the needs of your client base, customers, and shareholders.  Revenue development is one predominant change in the skill set demanded of a CEO in any sector or industry.  No more can CEO’s simply delegate revenue generation; today, they are required to play a far more hands-on role.  Customers want to hear from the CEO directly; donors want to see the whites of their eyes.  People raise money and people, customers and sponsors respond when being solicited directly by the CEO.

Look at today’s advertising, CEO’s are selling and guaranteeing mattresses, cellular phones, department stores and yes, even banks and insurance companies.  Corporations need a face and a voice, and it is the Chief Executive whom, in this economy, should be playing that role.

In the non-profit and public sectors, it is most important for the CEO to also be the champion of their organization through fundraising efforts and means.  They need to advocate for the organization with corporate donors, individual donors and through special events.  In fact, in today’s highly competitive CEO market, it is extremely reasonable and appropriate for boards to insist that their CEO be comfortable and experienced in community-based fundraising and, even require credentials such as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).

These credentials will assure a board of directors that their CEO has the skills and edge required to compete in a busy charitable environment.  When donor fatigue is high, the CEO needs to lead the charge for revenue, avert attrition and grow the base of both donors and dollars.

Sector and industry notwithstanding, the Chief Executive Officer is, among many other things, the Chief Revenue and Fundraising Officer for their corporation.  This is the type of core business competency which will differentiate them as a leader, and create greater value for the organization.

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