Q. Why is it important for an ED to be a financial leader in their role?

A.  No matter what your chapter looks like, it’s a part of the job. How much of that financial load you directly carry may change based on your leadership, but ultimately we still have to be a strong leader in this area. Financial leadership needs to be part of your vision casting so you must answer questions like:

• What kinds of principles do you want your chapter to embrace in that fundraising?
• How do you raise money?

No matter how well things are going financially, you still have got to be the cheerleader of that. You have to be the epitome of the best player-coach possible.  You have to cheer on your staff to fundraise and you have to set the example of fundraising.

Q. What are the key financial tools ED’s should be aware of and know how to use?

A.  The first is a basic bookkeeping package (i.e., QuickBooks, Peach Tree) that integrates well with your partner database, in our case, Salesforce or Raiser’s Edge. It’s great to have good knowledge about your database, but you still need to understand how it flows back into your accounting books.  You don’t report to your board about your donor database, you report from your accounting package so you need to understand how that accounting package works.

Some of the forms that get generated out of that system should be a Budget vs Actual Report, Statement of Cash Position, Trial Balance Sheet, Payables Statement, Receivables Statement and how these forms play into your accounting package. If you have an income line that is $10,000 over or under where you want to be, you should know why. You need to know a balance sheet and how it functions. These tools have helped my ability to work with our board and our accountant.

Q: What role does financial literacy play with fund development?

A: For the last 15-20 years there has been a lot of talk about moving away from a “sales model” of fundraising to a relational basis. That principal needs to continue to be defined and refined. It’s easy to turn the fundraising process into a transaction. There is some degree to which you can’t remove every aspect of this as a transaction. I just don’t think the transaction can drive your principles or your philosophy of financial leadership.

Fundraising/partner development and resource management are two distinct different sets of skills; they are two different boxes that sit next to each other on a shelf. One of my concerns is that, as a whole, YFC ED’s haven’t been coached in the “how” of being good financial managers. Anytime there’s a financial report presentation at Midwinter, etc., I’d like them to also teach the financial forms and tools that are being used to create those reports. For the first time ever, I was asked to do a Financial Literacy Piece at a convention; I have rarely heard us as a YFC movmement talk that much about financial literacy. We definitely need to raise our financial literacy across the organization.

Q. What is your overall philosophy of relational fundraising?

A.  My go-to is Philippians 4:17: “I seek not the gift itself, but the fruit that may be added to your increase because of it.” From that perspective, I ask myself three questions before donor appointments:
1 – Do I know enough about this donor/partner to know what their passions are?
2 -- Do they know what our passions are?
3 – Where do our passions intersect?
Working in a 3-story type loop, I make sure they hear my passions, I learn their passions, and I am looking for the intersections of where our passions cross, which can lead to a natural ask. This is typically for a higher level ask, but it applies to all your fundraising approaches, Facebook, letters, Twitter, etc.  What are your partners’ passions? What are our passions? Where do those passions intersect? That’s where I need to ask them for a gift. Then they want to invest because it is THEIR passion!

Now there may be times that you need $20,000 and you are just going to have to ask for it. But if at all possible, I am crafting a system of developing that relationship that gives out our passions and gains information on their passions to develop relationship with partners who then want to invest.

Q.  What are some resources you’d recommend to develop in this area?

A.  You must be lifelong learners of this development side; it’s changing all the time. There are many websites to sign up for newsletters. Here are a few:
The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
On the west coast, the Mission Increase Foundation is a Christian non-profit formed to train Christian non-profits on all things financial literacy. One book comes to mind Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni it is a great book about our need for transparency and honesty in sales. You can’t read everything, but you have to choose some and make it a habit to read each week.


Rick Fritzemeier is the Executive Director of Central Valley YFC. He also, as pictured above, competes in the highland games.


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