Why You Need to Be a Major Gifts Mentor
I’ve been blessed. All my life I’ve had people coach and mentor me. And, boy have I needed it! I can think of multiple poignant moments where a mentor of mine gave me some really sage advice that helped guide me as a person and in my profession.
That mentoring and coaching has made an incredible difference in my life. In fact, I would not be where I am today without the guidance of some selfless people who gave me their time and energy, all so they could help me grow as an individual.
There is no such thing as self-made person. Each of us has been helped by someone to help us stand where we are at this moment in time.
Today, I’m asking you to consider becoming a mentor to someone in our profession. As you know, major gifts fundraising (or any type of fundraising for that matter) is a tough, tough job. It’s incredibly emotionally draining. There is a lot of second-guessing and wondering if you’re doing the right thing.
This is where you come in. Unless you are absolutely new to major gifts fundraising, you have experiences, mistakes and successes to help guide someone who desperately needs it.
I can remember myself so many times where I hit a wall professionally or I didn’t know what the right course of action was and someone was always there who had gone before me to give me some really good advice.
In fact, as I write this my eyes well up in tears thinking about how those moments lifted me up at a really difficult time.
You can do that for someone else. I would go so far as to say it’s your duty as a fundraising professional, someone that has been helped by others, to give back and do that for someone in need. Not only will it help the person you are mentoring, it will give you such joy and satisfaction.
There is nothing quite like helping someone go to another level in their personal and professional life. It’s incredibly rewarding.
Here are some things I’d love for you to consider when thinking about mentoring others:
1. Spend some time in quiet and think about all the people that have helped you make you the person you are today—with a spirit of gratitude, keep those people in your heart.
2. Reflect on your professional career—what were some of the moments of great growth, mistakes you learned from, joys and frustrations? What were some things you wished you had not done? What were the best decisions you ever made?
3. Think about people you know that could benefit from your mentoring and coaching—create a list of those people and think about ways you could gently approach one or two of them and talk to them about mentoring. Be respectful if they don’t want it, but with an open heart and spirit offer to meet with them on a regular basis. Most people don’t have others that offer this to them. Let them take their time to consider it.
4. Be open—if you open yourself up to mentoring others I believe the universe has a way of bringing that to you. So, be open and awake to others needing all you have to offer.
I really believe mentoring in our profession makes you a hero. Let’s be honest. There is this inherent competition in fundraising that prevents people from helping others. It’s as if helping someone else will somehow give you less.
I’m here to tell you it’s the exact opposite. Both Richard and I have experienced that the more you give away of yourself the more that comes back to you in great abundance. You too can experience this abundance by mentoring and coaching someone in need.
We would love to hear your stories about mentoring. Please share them with the Passionate Giving community. Thank you.
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.