How Do You Deal With Nonprofit Professional Potholes?
According to Wikipedia, a pothole is a type of failure in an asphalt pavement caused by the presence of water in the underlying soil structure and the presence of traffic passing over the affected area. The term pothole was applied to a hole in a road in the approximate year 1909.
Last week, I was sitting in a very warm house watching a television story about the miserable changing winter weather we were having in Indianapolis. The focus of the story was the fact that at this time of year potholes on our streets become a major problem. Literally eight hours after watching this story, I drive to a 7 a.m. appointment when I hit a very deep pothole. I felt like Jeff Gordon in a NASCAR race. I knew the outcome was not going to be good.
As luck would have it, I was near my appointment site. I heard the air quickly leave my right front tire, which I had purchased three weeks ago, as I parked. I dreamed of having a pit crew quickly change my tire but had to settle for an auto association worker change my $280 tire in two below weather, which seemed to take forever. This situation made me realize the analogy of dealing with potholes in our profession, especially during transitions in fundraising positions.
I have left a number of fundraising positions during my career only to quickly join new organizations. Sadly, in each case of transition no one asked me for information regarding my prospects, portfolio, strategy and other key information needed for a smooth transition of information generated over a long period of time. In fact, I felt total detachment and non-interest in the organization I was leaving in having my important information.
Conversely, when I joined a new organization I usually inherited a blank page of information. Think of the many years of good will and credibility that was lost. In fact, opportunities for board members to step in with donors, for example, as interim bridge relationships did not exist. Employees come and go, but board members usually stay in place for a longer periods of time.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.