Fundraiser, How Is Your Relationship With Your Supervisor?
In his article "What Are the Factors Affecting Job Satisfaction?" Brian Hill of Demand Media suggests that five factors are at play in your job satisfaction — one of those being your relationship with your supervisor. I for one believe that supervisors in a fundraising context have an impossible job.
They must create grand game plans, implement strategic plans, educate internal and external constituencies, and identify priority needs for philanthropy. Also, they need to motivate and direct staffs that are hopefully on the same page as their supervisors.
Daily sand shifting leads the supervisor into a variety of productive and unproductive fundraising and administrative tasks. Many individuals cannot balance their responsibilities and play to their perceived strengths. Supervising is complex and unpredictable. There is always tension between time spent asking for money and managing fundraising staff.
Fundraising professionals who seek to work effectively with a supervisor must understand the strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and personal management style of the supervisor. Subordinates need to think in terms of counterbalancing. This means you must evaluate yourself and seek to understand your abilities.
Constantly question how your strengths can play to your supervisor's weaknesses. Most importantly, you must focus your energies on developing a comprehensive fundraising program. There is no substitute for your total immersion in the fundraising process.
Through a consistent, high level of performance, you gain the confidence of your supervisor over time. Provide "best of class" models, and keep relationships professional, not personal. Help the supervisor stay financially focused while providing suggestions to keep the administrative machine running smoothly.
Seek and succeed in obtaining and performing additional responsibilities outside of your job description without complaining. Volunteer, and assume tasks you know the supervisor doesn't like to handle. Obtain the management philosophy of your supervisor, and strive to motivate him or her through your interpretation of this philosophy. You must respect your supervisor and have empathy for the stresses of his or her position.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.