With the return of fall comes a chill in the air, the buzz of “Back to School”, and a renewed focus on football.

Whether cheering for pee wee, high school, college or professional football, Americans enjoy picking their favorite teams to win on the gridiron. Many winning teams rely on a talented coach.

Similar to successful football teams, a nonprofit organization’s success often depends on the skill and background of its chief executive. When evaluating funding opportunities for your personal philanthropy, giving back to organizations with top talent can make the most of your charitable assets.

What Matters Most?

Skillful leaders often exhibit many of the same characteristics. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the top 22 leadership qualities include integrity, inspiration, passion, innovation, authenticity, decisiveness, positivity, persistence and accountability.

What matters most to you when choosing nonprofits to fund?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!

In San Diego County, nonprofit leaders who exhibit such qualities are regularly recognized for their skills and achievements. Groups such as LEAD San Diego and the Association of Fundraising Professionals have annual programs dedicated to celebrating and fostering nonprofit leadership.

LEAD San Diego partners with Channel 10 San Diego to present the 10News Leadership Awards, which recognize people who make San Diego a better place to live by standing up for those who need help, initiating or creating solutions for others, serving as a role model and fulfilling a local need. One recent winner is Teresa Gunn from Street of Dreams (Musicians for Education), who has been helping keep pregnant teens off of San Diego streets for 20 years.

Investing in Nonprofit Leaders

Another unique group in San Diego that promotes nonprofit leadership is the Fieldstone Foundation. In more than 20 years, 1,800 organizations have benefited from participation in its programs. The Fieldstone Foundation’s Leadership Network is designed to strengthen our regional nonprofit sector through training and ongoing learning opportunities that emphasize systemic thinking, interdisciplinary learning, collaboration, problem solving and support through personal and professional networks. In fact, the President & CEO of San Diego Grantmakers, Nancy Jamison, is a graduate.

Fieldstone Foundation leadership development model

Fieldstone Foundation leadership development model

Leadership: A Lens for Researching Funding Opportunities

If you plan to add evaluation of current leadership to your due diligence efforts when considering potential grantmaking opportunities, you may wish to consult the recent article from Peoria Magazine, “What Questions Should You Ask Your Next Nonprofit Leader?”. The author poses questions that address the following six leadership attributes as a way to assess fit between someone’s purpose and values, and the task of effectively managing a nonprofit.

  • Vision
  • Change management
  • Communication and presentation skills
  • Character
  • Results orientation
  • Management style

Joyful Giving

Great leaders can increase the success of their organizations by empowering and enabling staff to maximize its mission, which in turn affects promising outcomes and positively impacts our region. In the end, what matters most is that the nonprofits you support resonate with you personally. Giving back is most rewarding when you believe that your philanthropy is truly making a difference for the community.

For more information on opening a fund at The San Diego Foundation, and how to access our personalized grantmaking or strategic philanthropy services, please contact us here.

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What helps you decide which nonprofit organizations you will support? Share your thoughts in the comments below!