The Case Of The Employee That Doesn't Fit
A sad situation I observe very frequently is one in which a major-gift manager, whose primary skill set is major gifts, finds herself in a management position where the up-line managers, even the CEO, are critical of her "lack of management ability." And so, rather than celebrate the wonderful gift this person is contributing to the success of the major-gift program, they are pecking away her, almost on a daily basis, making her feel small.
I've seen this happen even in the context of a vibrant, growing major-gift program where the numbers are going up and the ROI is getting better. I don't understand it. I remember one situation several years ago in which the top leader called me into his office for a private conference on "what are we going to do with Ann (not her real name)? She just cannot manage!" And this CEO was adamant that something needed to change right now.
I listened for several minutes — seemed like an hour — as he ranted on about her clumsy handling of staff, how he couldn't get her to do a budget right, how she was not in touch with the numbers, and on and on and on.
Then, there was a pause and he turned to me and asked me what I thought. I started off by saying that good major-gift people are hard to find — very hard to find. Then I pointed out that this good lady had assembled some of the best MGOs I had seen in the industry. I told him that the numbers were really good — the growth was fantastic — the ratios were above industry standard and that, except for some minor items here and there, the major gift program was soaring.
It was time for me to pause and ask him a question. He leaned forward. I said, "So, Bob (not his real name), let me ask you a question. Which of these two situations would you rather have?
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.