We asked several CEOs to reply to this question: “What is the single most important role you, as a CEO, play in development?” While the most popular answer was “to be able to articulate the vision and mission of the organization,” respondents offered these additional thoughts:
• To listen to the dreams of potential donors.
• To maintain a strong relationship with the chief development officer.
• To make the “ask.”
• To build relationships with the community by sharing the organization’s story.
• To be able to intelligently talk about the day-to-day operational successes and challenges, how the organization demonstrates good stewardship, is achieving positive outcomes for its clients, is exercising best governance practices, and is making a difference.
• To be involved in establishing direction for the development program.
• To ensure that supporters have confidence in leaders’ competence and integrity so that they have reasons to invest in the organization’s work.
• To create relationships of trust with constituents in the community and at a distance.
• To be a person of integrity and character, and to be accessible.