Fundraising & Breaking The Curse of Founders’ Syndrome


This week, I’m joined by Rhea Wong, my long-time friend, and multi-time guest on the podcast. Rhea and I talk all the time about the work that we each do supporting and coaching small nonprofits in the areas of fundraising and strategy, and occasionally we hit on a topic that gets us really excited.

This is one of those topics: the messy and complicated relationship between fundraising and founders. We found ourselves talking about the oh-so-common situation that many EDs who take over from founders find themselves in in the early months of their new tenure — the “robust” funding base of donors and supporters that they believed they were receiving, are not there.

I work with a lot of founders, and so I was really excited to talk with Rhea about how a leader can avoid this situation – what someone can do LONG before it’s a problem – to be intentional about their fundraising base and build a strong infrastructure that won’t collapse when they leave. The process of intentional fundraising begins years before a founder leaves, and Rhea and I have a blast discussing, debating, and even sometimes commiserating in our memory of our ED days.