Publications & Products
Volume 4, Issue 3

Improve CEO-CDO Relationships

To champion fundraising efforts on their campuses, community college presidents should have as strong a working relationship with their foundation director as they do with their provost, says one institutional leader.

Paul Young, president of the Northern Wyoming Community College District, says that he talks with his foundation director daily about everything from the minutiae of upcoming events to which one of them should take the lead in soliciting a key prospect.

"I spend more time on fundraising than I do anything else as college president," he says. "I think it's as important as our college budget or our institutional accreditation."

But Young didn't always have this attitude. Young, who describes himself as an introvert, says he wasn't always comfortable talking with donors and often avoided such tasks or deferred them to his foundation director when he first became president about five years ago.

With time, however, Young began to understand just how important fundraising was for the continued growth and success of his institution, especially as other revenue sources shrank. He believes that community college presidents avoid involvement with fundraising at their own risk.

"Presidents have to take this seriously," he says. "If you, as a president, don't take this seriously, then no one else will lead the development effort on your campus. And presidents need to lead from the front. That means paying the same amount of attention, if not more, to this as you would anything else in your portfolio."

Young encourages all presidents to have an open and honest dialogue with their chief development officers—to decide who should take the lead on particular fundraising efforts as skill or background dictates.

For more information on how to improve the relationship between college president and chief development officer, there is an elective session at the upcoming CASE Conference for Community College Advancement, Sept. 17-19 in Sacramento, California. In addition, listen to a free episode of Advancement Talk featuring a conversation with a pair of leaders from a California community college.

This article is from the September 2014 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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