We All Need a Confidant at Work
Recently, I was driving to dinner with a client when she remarked, "You know, Jeff, I wouldn't be able to survive without Mary helping me with my caseload. She knows my donors, she knows me and, without her, I wouldn't be as effective. I really value her knowledge and her help."
I thought to myself, "how refreshing to hear this." Here is a successful manager of a whole host of major gifts officers (MGOs) with her own caseload to boot, and here she is telling me that without Mary she could not be effective. Mary happens to work in donor relations and helps this particular nonprofit's MGOs with stewarding their donors, giving them ideas to create a better relationship with the MGOs' donors.
Yes, I realize having someone in Mary's position would be an absolute luxury for you. But, as I talked with my client more, what I was really hearing was how important it was to have someone help her in her work, who really knows and understands her work style and how beneficial it is to have someone to bounce ideas off of.
What has happened here is that these two have bonded and formed a great working relationship, which has greatly benefited the other.
I find this rare in our industry. Quite frankly, major gifts officers often tend to be solo players. Some of that is just the way the job is configured, with a dose of competition built in.
While it is rare, Richard and I have found some of the best MGOs and managers are ones who collaborate, who go out of their way to seek counsel and have real confidants at work.
I remember years ago reading in a management book about traits of effective people in their work. One of the questions asked, which I thought was odd at first, was, "Do you have a best friend at work?" What the authors were getting at is do you have someone at work with whom you can share who you really are? It was found that people who do have a "best friend" or confidant at work tend to be more successful and happier than those who don't.
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.