Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter

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December 16, 2018

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Training Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

by the AFRDS

As an outgoing PTA or PTO president, it’s important to get your successor up to speed. Smooth leadership transitions are critical to the continued success of your group. Unfortunately, not every group properly prepares its future leaders. Celeste Tienken, who helped with fundraising at her children’s middle school, remembers taking over a position once when her predecessor, who was moving, met her at a nursery to hand off the materials.

“That’s all I had,” Tienken said. “It’s more ideal to work with someone for a year before taking over.”

Succession planning is vital, and fundraising can play an important role in this process. Having experienced volunteers ask newer people in the group individually to help with a product sale will help identify who has good organizational and leadership skills, as well which individuals have the ability to delegate, coordinate and set goals. Give the new folks a task that is important, but not too overwhelming, such as recording and tallying sales or distributing orders. Or ask them to record each step in the sale, along with all the contact information – a critical component to future success.

“When chairing a fundraising project, keeping good and accurate records is vital,” according to Jim Pike, a fundraising professional who works with schools in New Jersey. “When it comes time to pass the torch, share with your committee what worked and what didn’t work. This will help your successor get an early jump on planning next year’s project and will help minimize the possibility of making the same mistakes.”

Leadership develops most naturally when it’s gradual: from helping with delivery of orders to serving as assistant chair or co-chair of fundraising to overseeing fundraising for the entire year. Transitions are assured when leaders cultivate successors, bringing in assistants who can take over the following year. To ensure a smooth transition in your organization, train tomorrow’s leaders today with your next product sale.


About the Author:

This article is from the Spring 2007 issue of the Fundraising Edge, an online publication of the Association of Fund Raisers and Direct Sellers and is reprinted with permission. Visit their web site at for more information and a look at the complete issues of the Fundraising Edge.

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