5 Ways to Deal With Arrogance in Major Gifts Fundraising
1. Having or displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance.
2. Marked by or arising from a feeling or assumption of one's superiority toward others.
You've met them. They're everywhere — buried inside so many good organizations. People puffed up with unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem; people who regularly show scorn and contempt for others; folks who are domineering, overbearing and downright difficult to like.
And many of them are managers and leaders. I don't know how they got there. In the company I owned, I would weed these people out, no matter how good they were!
But there they are, and you have to deal with it.
Why am I talking about this, and how does it relate to major gifts?
Well, two things. First, I have been seeing a lot of it recently, and it has me thinking. Secondly, there is something that can happen to a major-gifts offier (MGO) when he or she lands a large gift that I want to inoculate all MGOs against so it doesn't happen to them.
And, by extension, when a major gifts program is successful, I have seen managers and leaders just change before my very eyes into arrogant monsters. Not all of them, but enough so it merits writing about it.
Why does this happen?
Well, I'm not a psychologist, but I know enough about myself and my journey to know that I used to think most of my success was about me. Used to. Then as I went through the counseling I needed to go through and discovered how desperately inadequate I felt — how low my self-esteem was — and how I was awkwardly trying to give myself value by grabbing as much attention and credit as I possibly could.
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.