Don’t Put Up With Bad Management
Right now there are thousands of major gift officers (MGOs) and development professionals around the world who are being subjected to terrible management.
Are you one of them?
Just recently, I received a call from an MGO at a large university who told me that she is considering doing something else because her boss:
- Looks for ways to not give her credit for a gift. Throughout the course of her employment, her manager has figured out ways not to give her credit for gifts that come in from her caseload. She still has managed to exceed her goals.
- Belittles her in front of her peers. The manager has said publicly that she’s not very good at her work in front of her co-workers, even though she is the top performer.
- Gives her bad reviews. Her manager does this even though she consistently exceeds her revenue goals and has received praise from donors on her caseload. Her manager's boss has told her repeatedly that she is outstanding, yet will not do anything about her manager.
- Has never told her she has done a nice job—ever!
She became very emotional and upset on the phone as she asked me what she should do. I said, "Why are you still there after seven years? Considering is not an option—you have to get out now."
This good woman, a true fundraising professional, was taking it on the chin daily from a boss who clearly has deep, personal problems.
Now, you may think this particular story is extreme. Richard and I can assure that it’s not. There are so many good MGOs out there who could be great if it weren’t for a bad manager bringing them down and tearing out their spirits.
As you know, we’ve discussed the lack of good management in the nonprofit sector quite a bit over the years in this blog. But, the reason for my writing about it today is to remind you that you have a choice if you are in a bad situation.
You can leave.
I know that sounds scary to you, but if you are a good MGO, you will have no trouble finding a good job. Our team at Veritus is inundated with managers and executive directors asking us if we know good people that could take this or that position.
So, ask yourself, like I eventually asked the woman who called me recently, "Why put yourself in that toxic situation?" Start looking while you have your current job, and find a place where you can soar. You can find a manager who celebrates your wins and encourages you. A manager who gives constructive critique, helps to hold you accountable and focuses you on the right things. A manager who goes out of his or her way to help you develop into the best you can be. Don’t you deserve that?
Yes, you do!
It’s amazing to me when an MGO comes to me with an awful situation, and he or she still doesn’t know what to do about it. Granted, there may be a way forward if that manager can change, but if your environment is so toxic, the best way out of it is out the door.
Here are some things I want you to remember:
- You deserve to be treated well. You should not put up with a demeaning manager who does not value your work.
- You are worthy of being valued. Do you believe this? You should. You are good at what you do and you should be told you are from your manager.
- You need to be in a place where you are lifted up, not torn down. Why subject yourself to that kind of behavior? It actually says more about you that you allow that to happen to you.
- You are in charge of your own career. Not your manager, not your co-workers—you are in control of it. So act like you are.
- You are worthy. I said it again, because I don’t know if you believe it. Life is too short and amazing to let yourself be subjected to a bad manager who brings you down. Don’t allow it to happen.
Again, I want to say you are in control of your own situation. Gain the confidence you need to believe it and work in a place that brings you joy! Yes, joy. Not only will you be in a better place, but the donors you work with everyday will feel it too.
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.