Expand Your Horizons
We are big on not attending the same professional conferences year after year. Take a break from your routine and attend a new conference—maybe one outside of your nonprofit sector. This year, I’m taking a break from AFP to attend a different conference and I plan to be back at AFP next year.
Recently, I was disappointed to learn a major organization had decreed that no one was to attend its sector-specific conference. The organization’s leadership evidently felt the caliber of programs was lacking. Instead, they retained a firm to bring regular training and coaching to its staff.
This dynamic is challenging on several levels. First, it is very healthy for nonprofit leaders and, especially fundraising professionals, to network. We all know that sometimes the biggest take away is from time in the hallways or over a drink or meal talking with friends new and old.
Second, there also is magic in getting outside of your shop, outside of your geographic location. I can think differently when I am a bit unplugged from the day to day and on the road. Ideas seem to flow and germinate.
Third, if you are a leader in a supervisory role, providing training for your team is one thing, but the ongoing coaching needs to be in your hands for many reasons—including protecting your culture.
And finally, we all have an obligation to contribute to our profession. Being part of professional organizations is vital. If the organizations you most related to are not providing adequate services or content, then consider getting involved and changing this—for the benefit of you and your team and for the profession!
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.