Could Your Career Use a Mentor?
Are you interested in moving into another nonprofit vertical?
You may benefit from a mentor who works in that vertical and can help you understand the unique aspects of fundraising in that arena. For example, if you have always worked for environmental groups and want to move into educational fundraising, a mentor with a background as a development officer at a college may help you discover what skills are transferable and where you need to get additional training or experience — or where you should focus the next year or two — in order to successfully transition. Don’t expect the mentor to be your personal employment counselor or to find you a job. Rather, the mentor’s job is to help you understand what specific skills the new vertical values so you can focus on those to prepare yourself.
Do you have a love for fundraising and a genuine desire to share that love with others?
If so, being a mentor may be the perfect opportunity for you to demonstrate your passion and help another person (and therefore, another organization) grow through your knowledge-sharing. Taking time to mentor someone is personally rewarding. It may even remind you of why you became a fundraiser in the first place, as you see the excitement in someone else who gets an idea from you, implements it and sees how it makes a difference in his or her fundraising program.
Some of us started in fundraising intentionally, and others of us kind of stumbled into the field. We’ve learned things through structured testing, making mistakes, and the guidance and example of others. Being a mentor — or giving someone else the opportunity to mentor you — is a rewarding way to give a little more back to the nonprofits we believe in.
Who inspired you — or is inspiring you now — in your career?
Pamela Barden is the creative juice and the copywriting machine behind PJBarden Inc. Pamela also serves on the FundRaising Success Editorial Advisory Board. You can follow Pamela on Twitter @pjbarden
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.