Major Gifts Fundraising: You Need a Friend
I don't like that term, "self-made millionaire" or "self-made man or woman." There is no such thing. In fact, I've never met anyone whom our society would call successful who became that way on his or her own.
Now, some people may claim they have, but that is because their egos are so overinflated they can't think straight.
All my life, I've been fortunate to have people in my life who have mentored me and were able to speak some hard truths into my life. In fact, if I look back all the way from junior high to where I am today, I can name all the significant people in my life who guided me and helped me get to where I am right now.
I'm so grateful for them.
These are just ordinary people whom I either reached out to or who took an interest in me and were skilled at listening and guiding. Many just came alongside me to provide encouragement or a few words of correction that helped me see differently.
As a major gifts fundraising professional, you need people in your life to help guide you personally and professionally. I'm saddened when I see good fundraisers think they can do it on their own, that they don't need advice or they can't listen to good criticism of their work.
This work you do is too complex, difficult and emotionally draining to not have a support team of people around you to help you be successful.
Richard and I could tell you story after story of when we first start working with a new client and we sit down with major gifts officers (MGOs) and tears start streaming down their eyes because someone finally wants to support and help them.
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.