Is There A Difference Between Advancement and Leadership?

I have written previously about the similarities between the practice of leadership and the practice of advancement.

Recently, I stumbled upon this older but concise definition of leadership:

Leadership is about articulating visions, embodying values, and creating the environment within which things can be accomplished.”  — Richards and Engle, Transforming Leadership, 1986

If you want to see how similar the concepts of advancement and leadership really are, simply replace the word “Leadership” from the above quote with the word “Advancement.”  It works equally as well.

Advancement is about articulating visions, embodying values, and creating the environment within which things can be accomplished.”

When we do advancement work well, we articulate the vision of our institution’s future, we embody the values of our institution, and we create environments (through planned cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship, primarily) within which donors want to be generous.

Advancement is leadership.  No matter your title or role in advancement, you are a leader.  You are leading donors and others to reach their far edge of promise by doing something bigger than themselves.  Enjoy your leadership role!

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