This is the second part of a series (see Part I) of thoughtful and inspiring comments Jeff Raikes made at a luncheon I attended.

One of the wonderful things about Jeff is that he had an amazing career at Microsoft (you can see some of his history starting from when he left Apple and his additional contributions). He took his formidable business sense and applied it to fundraising leadership when he and his wife, Tricia, were the 2006-7 Campaign Co-Chairs for United Way of King County.

Jon Shirley, Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates

Jon Shirley, Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates

At this meeting, Jeff talked about Jon Shirley, a man he considers a mentor. Jon joined Microsoft in 1983 as  President and Chief Operating Officer. Jon steered the deal to take Microsoft public in 1986. Jeff talked about leadership lessons he learned from Jon.

“Great leaders have a great ability to value and trust their people, by listening, and a willingness to step forward and roll up their sleeves and add value – and they make a decision and do it.”

This is spot-on… hire the right people then value them and allow them to use their talents, smarts and instincts to do their jobs.

In addition, don’t be afraid to lead by pitching in.

Jeff continued, “In business, you need to consider the complexity of the market, the complexity of the customer and the competitive environment. Take those considerations and reduce them to their essence.”

This last piece of advice I believe is perfect for fundraisers to consider when navigating a gift.

  • The complexity of the environment is the problem your nonprofit is addressing.
  • The complexity of the customer is your donor – where are they in the process of getting to know your nonprofit? what are their motivations for giving? how does the donor view the manner in which you are tackling this issue your nonprofit is addressing?
  • The competitive environment is the financial, social and charitable context in which both you and the donor are operating.

What do you think about these ideas?

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