Be Coachable for Nonprofit Success
“You'll never know everything about anything, especially something you love,” said renowned chef and cooking instructor Julia Child.
You and I love nonprofit work—and especially fundraising. Therefore, we should be lifelong learners and coachable. According to Webster’s, coachable is "capable of being easily taught and trained to do something better."
Lifelong learning is a desire to continually improve and being coachable is humility where we are willing to learn from others—one of the best methods in our field. I truly believe that you learn something from everyone you encounter.
In our main office, we have a conference room with hundreds of volumes—books, CDs, DVDs—on fundraising, boards, communications, leadership and other nonprofit topics. We continually are building this resource for our team so that we can have great references and embrace lifelong learning.
I have several nonprofit and fundraising mentors and I learn from them—and from every member of our team—regularly. We also learn from every client we serve and the experiences of serving them.
If you want to fulfill your potential and serve your mission to the fullest, you have to put ego aside and be coachable—a lifelong learner.
Fundraising is a team sport—it’s not about you or any one person. I cringe when I see CEOs, or any nonprofit leaders, making projects' or positioning the nonprofits' successes all about them. They are shortchanging themselves and their organizations' missions.
Be willing to learn—from your staff, your donors, board members, consultants, mentors—and embrace lifelong learning!
Henry Ford said, "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young."
Stay young! Stay fresh! Stay humble! Be a lifelong learner who is not afraid to learn from others.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.