5 Ways to Deal With Arrogance in Major Gifts Fundraising
I remember, in the early days of the company my business partner and I founded, I was so jealous of the attention my partner was receiving as a result of getting clients for the business (sales) that I insisted I play a major role in sales even though I wasn't good at it!
My business partner graciously allowed me to make a fool of myself by letting me play a major role in a sales presentation for a large prospective client. I messed it up royally and was so embarrassed. It wasn't until later in our business relationship that I found peace with my gifts and my role and was able to not do this attention-grabbing thing I was doing way too frequently.
So one reason for the arrogance could be the person thinks it's really all about him or her.
Another one is fear. I have seen MGOs, major gifts managers and grant writers who are filled with so much fear about their jobs, their performance or the performance of a colleague who is so much better than them that they fill their environment with bluster and swag as if that will protect them or change the circumstances they find themselves in.
Another reason for arrogance could be simple lack of awareness. (I'm trying to be really generous here!) A MGO has been working hard with a donor, and the donor finally decides to give a large gift. BAM! — the MGO thinks it's all about him or her. And so the MGO struts around like a rooster in a henhouse, loudly displaying all his or her achievements in this situation.
MGOs like this are not aware of the rather mystical, I would say, mysterious, thing that happened in the donor's heart and mind that caused the gift. True, the MGO made the case and presented it. But I think that is less than half the reason the gift actually happened. It was the donor who found comfort and connection with the idea — it was the donor who found fulfillment and outlet for his or her feelings of compassion and caring for our planet and its people. It was the donor who opened up his or her heart and hands and let the funds spill out and bless the organization.
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.